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Governor announces revisions to 2009 budget

by Richard Veilleux - February 11, 2008


Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Feb. 6 unveiled adjustments to the state’s budget for fiscal year 2009 that leaves intact UConn’s original appropriation, leaves untouched a $6.5 million appropriation that addresses the Health Center’s ‘academic gap,’ and adds $10.9 million to the Health Center’s budget for fiscal year 2008 to cover a current year shortfall.

The academic gap refers to the difference between what it takes to fund the medical and dental schools and the amount the state appropriates to the University.

The budget also continues into 2009 $2 million each for both the Eminent Faculty Program and the Center for Entrepreneurship, and the $1 million for faculty hiring, new in 2008, is now incorporated into the 2009 base budget for Storrs-based programs.

“Gov. Rell’s willingness to deal with the Health Center’s shortfall so early in the process is much appreciated,” says Lori Aronson, vice president and chief financial officer.

“With our 2009 budget intact, we will be able to continue our work to enhance undergraduate education, build our research base, and contribute to the state’s economy in a meaningful way.”

The two-year budget was set during last year’s legislative session, but the governor and lawmakers traditionally tweak the package during the off-year, responding to changes in the marketplace or to cover the costs of new legislation.

IRell’s budget presentation and state of the state address opened the legislature’s 2008 session, which is scheduled to end on May 7.

The package must now be approved by the full legislature.

“One of the reasons I chose to come to Connecticut was the tremendous support the University receives from the General Assembly,” says University President Michael J. Hogan.

“That support is evidenced by this budget, which recognizes the important role the University plays in the state while also addressing several of our unique contributions.”

Those contributions include the role the Health Center plays in the correctional managed care health program.

Rell’s budget takes those costs into account through a $6.9 million addition to the Department of Correction’s budget for inmate medical services.

This amount will be transferred to the Health Center to pay for the services.

In addition, the budget for the Department of Economic and Community Development includes a proposed $500,000 allocation for a grant program promoting collaborative research between Connecticut universities and industry and nanotechnology.

The Governor’s capital budget includes $5 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development for the purchase of equipment by public and private universities in the area of nanoscience.

The budget also includes a proposal to provide tuition waivers at UConn, the Connecticut State University system, and the state’s community colleges for surviving spouses and children of military personnel killed in action; and a $300,000 loan forgiveness program for Connecticut engineers who work in Connecticut.

Rell also has asked the University’s Board of Trustees to name the library at the School of Law the Thomas Meskill Law Library, in honor of the late Connecticut governor, who served from 1971 to 1975.

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