Tuesday Trends sample: Green Bay rising, credit unions mixed and UW falling
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Green Bay: Local government and economic leaders appear close to luring the state's boys and girls basketball tournaments away from Madison, where they've been held nearly every year for more than 90 years. The board of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association approves a five-year agreement to move the games to the Resch Center -- potentially as soon as next year -- if conflicts with the Kohl Center on the UW-Madison campus can't be resolved, though discussions with Madison officials are set to continue at some point. Meanwhile, officials project an economic impact of between $6 million to $9 million to the Green Bay area from the tournaments.
Credit unions: Each of the state's ten largest credit unions turned a profit in 2011, while eight of those ten saw overall earnings increases compared to 2010. That's an improvement from the six out of the top ten that saw earnings decreases year-to-year in 2010. Observers attribute the improvement to better loan portfolios, inexpensive lending funds and more overall loans; the state Department of Financial Institutions says overall loans increased by 4.3 percent among the more than 200 state credit unions. Community First Credit Union -- based in Appleton -- saw the largest income increase at nearly 30 percent; only UW Credit Union and Pioneer Credit Union of Green Bay saw their earnings drop among the top ten credit unions. But among that positive news, the state is also the site of the second credit union takeover by the National Credit Union Administration so far this year. AM Community Credit Union, based in Kenosha, has been placed into conservatorship to resolve "safety and soundness" issues. AM reported a loss of $8.2 million last year, with nearly 12 percent of its loans qualifying as delinquent at the end of the year.
UW: The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee signs off on a proposal from the Walker administration to lapse $123.3 million from state agencies in the current budget year amid complaints that the University of Wisconsin takes a disproportionate hit in the cuts. JFC Co-chair Robin Vos, R-Rochester, lauds Republicans' transparency in the lapse process -- charging that the previous two budgets each saw more than $500 million in lapses with "no legislative oversight whatsoever" -- and says agencies have known to plan for the cuts since the budget passed last summer. But Democrats say the UW System could not have possibly prepared to account for $46.1 million of the overall lapse, a figure they repeatedly note is 38 percent of the total for an agency that accounts for just 7 percent of the state's overall budget. Republicans say their priorities necessitated the cut allocated to UW, and challenge critics to find fault with protecting health care programs, school aids and law enforcement costs from the bulk of the lapses.