Congratulations UW-Madison! The news that the state's flagship campus now spends $1 billion on research, which is derived from various sources, including grants from the federal government, private fundraising and state aid, means UW is once again spending more money than the state's entire budget for the Department of Corrections.
In terms of state support, however, the entire UW system just barely outdoes DOC. This is due largely to the truth-in-sentencing reforms of the 1990's, which eliminated the possibility of probation for thousands of non-violent offenders, and sparked a prison-building spree that has only recently come to a halt.
If state dollars articulate the state's priorities, locking up the criminals of yesterday is as important as educating the leaders of tomorrow. Tell me that's not a great slogan!
Some reason that there's little imperative for state government to fund higher education when there are so many willing donors and federal revenue sources to substitute for the historical guarantee of state support. And if our education rankings drop, and professors leave for other states, you just tough it out. However, when it comes to corrections, you "spend whatever it takes."