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Legislature may add $3 million to budgets

by Richard Veilleux - April 10, 2006

The General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on March 30 approved a 2006-07 budget proposal that, if passed by the full legislature, would add nearly $3 million to operating budgets for UConn and its Health Center, bringing both budgets close to the University’s current service request.

“We appreciate the committee’s recognition that if the University of Connecticut is to continue to meet its commitment to deliver a quality education to all our current and future students, we need a budget that will at least reflect current services,” says University President Philip E. Austin.

“I remain hopeful that the legislature’s continued deliberations will result in significant improvements to our funding structure.”

The $16.7 billion budget passed by the Appropriations Committee represents a 4 percent increase compared to Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s budget proposal, made in February.

Negotiators will work to reconcile the two packages between now and May 3, the scheduled last day of the session.

The new budget came out of the Appropriations Committee on a party line vote, with all Democrats on the committee supporting the measure, and Republicans voting against it.

The committee’s fiscal 2007 proposal also includes $6.7 million for the state Department of Higher Education for the state matching grant program.

Of that   amount, UConn officials estimate that $5.16 million is for UConn to match eligible donations made during calendar year 2004.

Funds were also included for the Storrs-based and Health Center budgets to help compensate for unexpected federal funding cuts.

They include $350,000 for the University to support National Underwater Research Center activities at Avery Point, while efforts are made to reinstate federal support.

The Health Cneter’s budget includes $467,000 to offset federal cuts in the Health Professions Partnership Initiative that helps bring underrepresented students into the health care field.

Increased funding for the Department of Economic and Community Development for research-based technology transfer may also result in increased funding for UConn.

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