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General Assembly makes no revision to 2009 budget

by Richard Veilleux - May 19, 2008


Their hands tied by a projected $80 million deficit in the current fiscal year, the General Assembly concluded its 2008 session without making adjustments to the fiscal 2009 budget.

This leaves the University and its Health Center with current service budgets that were approved in 2007.

“We understand the position the legislature is in as the state and national economies continue to struggle, and we’re grateful that we can proceed with a current services budget,” says University President Michael Hogan.

The lack of action on the state budget means UConn will not receive the $1 million in extra funding officials requested to bolster faculty ranks and decrease the faculty/student ratio.

However, the $1 million added to the University’s budget in the 2008 fiscal year for additional faculty remains in the University’s base budget, and the Eminent Faculty Program and Center for Entrepreneurship remain funded at $2 million each for fiscal 2009.

At the UConn Health Center, the legislature did not act on the request for nearly $22 million to cover a shortfall at the Health Center, more than $20 million of which is attributed to John Dempsey Hospital.

The deficiency bill adopted by the Appropriations Committee, but not acted on by the General Assembly before its adjournment on May 7, contained the requested funding for the Health Center.

Legislators also did not address a deficiency in the budget for the Department of Corrections, holding up $6.5 million slated for inmate medical services, which are provided by the Health Center’s Correctional Managed Care Health program.

That deficit was driven by a surging inmate population, and the funding was intended to meet the actual cost of inmate services at Dempsey Hospital.

“We remain hopeful that the General Assembly and the governor will address the deficiency at our Health Center in coming weeks” when a special session that is being scheduled convenes, says Lorraine Aronson, UConn’s chief financial officer.

The legislature did approve $6.9 million in funding for the Health Center to cover the so-called “academic gap,” the difference between what it costs to run the academic and research operations at the Health Center and the state appropriation.

Until recently, the gap had been covered by clinical revenues from the John Dempsey Hospital.

For the fiscal year that begins July 1, the Storrs-based programs will receive a state appropriation of $229.4 million. The Health Center will receive an appropriation of $101.9 million.

The Health Center also receives funding through the state Department of Corrections to provide medical services for inmates.

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