State Budget Cuts Challenge University
By Richard Veilleux
A revised state budget that significantly reduced funding for Storrs-based programs and at the UConn Health Center for the fiscal year that began July 1, was passed by the General Assembly June 30 and signed into law by Gov. John G. Rowland.
The reduction for Storrs-based programs was approximately $10 million. At the Health Center, the cut is approximately $2.1 million. These figures do not include other reductions in state support for the cost of fringe benefits.
"We must take significant steps to assure stability and the continued excellence of our programs as we address this serious challenge," says President Philip E. Austin. "A monetary loss of this magnitude will require revenue enhancements and budget reductions across all our campuses, including the Health Center."
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, state officials rescinded more than $6 million from a combined $265 million state budget allotment for UConn and the Health Center. That cut was absorbed through management of vacant positions and energy savings.
The original appropriation for the new fiscal year was $203.9 million for Storrs-based programs and $76.3 million for the Health Center.
"It is essential that we take all possible steps to address the challenges that lie before us. The significant cut in state support can be addressed only by making reductions in expenditures, implementing operational efficiencies, and generating additional revenues from other sources. We propose to do all three, and to do so in a manner that protects quality and maintains access," Austin says.
The funding cuts do not affect Rowland's proposal for 21st Century UConn, the proposed $1.3 billion bonding program that would be the successor to UConn 2000. Legislators will have the opportunity to discuss and act upon that proposal, and all other state bonding projects, during a special session expected to occur August 6-7.
UConn's Board of Trustees will discuss the budget during a meeting August 13 in the Lewis B. Rome Commons.