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State GOP lawmaker calls UW Regents "out of touch" for pay hike endorsement

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The head of the Wisconsin Assembly's higher education committee says UW Regents are out of touch for endorsing higher pay ranges for the university's top leaders.

Whitewater Republican Steve Nass says the increases are fiscally irresponsible.

Some of the Regents say the hikes are badly needed so Wisconsin can compete with other schools for top talent.

A Regents' committee endorsed pay ranges Thursday which include a top salary of almost $600,000 for the next UW president who will succeed the departing Kevin Reilly.

Regent Gerald Whitburn, a former cabinet member under Tommy Thompson, said Wisconsin is getting a bargain compared to Ohio State and Penn State -- which pay their leaders up to $3 million a year.

Nass says it's no consolation to Wisconsin families who continue to struggle while, "the Board of Regents rolled up their sleeves and made sure the UW System's high level administrators will be able to easily afford an addition on their summer home, or to pay cash for a new Lexus."

The Regents were planning to take a final vote Friday on the new pay ranges -- as well as the first pay hikes in five years for 10 campus chancellors.