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JFC Senate chair expects compromise to state property sell off plan

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Senate chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee expects a compromise to the governor’s proposed authority to sell off state property to pay down the government’s debt.

Republican Alberta Darling said she was surprised that Governor Scott Walker’s plan allows for the selling of highways and prisons – and she wants lawmakers to have more of a say.

The finance panel will decide Tuesday whether the Walker plan, or a part of it, should be in the next state budget.

The state owes about $8 billion, and the Republican Walker proposed the sell-off plan to reduce the debt.

The UW System is up in arms about it. They say dormitories that were funded with student fees could end up paying for new highways instead. Student leaders also fear that their campus union buildings would no longer be controlled by their schools.

Milwaukee businessman Sheldon Lubar donated millions to build academic facilities at UW-Madison and Milwaukee. He said he could never imagine that the structures he helped build could go to an outside party. Lubar believes it could hurt the university’s fundraising.

The governor would be allowed to negotiate with buyers, without having to go through a public bidding process.

Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards says he’s against what he calls a “fire sale” process.

The administration says it sought broad selling authority because it does not yet have an inventory of all state properties – and its focus is to sell things like land for expanded highways that was not needed.