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Legislators' initial budget would restore funding to UConn

by Richard Veilleux - April 13, 2009


The state legislature’s Appropriations Committee on April 2 approved a two-year budget proposal that increases state support for UConn’s Storrs-based programs and the Health Center by more than $70 million above the support proposed for the biennium by Gov. M. Jodi Rell last month.

The committee’s approved budget would add $11.2 million for each year of the biennium for the Storrs-based programs, bringing the appropriation in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 nearly even with the current year’s appropriation prior to the governor’s 3 percent and 2 percent rescissions.

For the Health Center, the committee added $10.5 million for each year, and also included another $13.5 million in each of the two years to the comptroller’s budget to cover the fringe benefit differential for Dempsey Hospital employees.

The cost of the differential was not included in the governor’s budget.

Legislative leaders will now negotiate the final appropriation. The legislature is scheduled to end the session June 6.

“While this is good news, and we’re grateful for the General Assembly’s recognition of the value UConn brings and the importance of protecting higher education during these challenging economic times, our optimism must be tempered,” says University President Michael J. Hogan.

“There’s still a long way to go in this process, and we recognize that the state is facing a deficit of more than $8 billion.”

The additional funding would help mitigate anticipated cuts to department and program budgets, but is still millions of dollars less than the University requested to maintain current services earlier this year.

The governor’s budget proposal bases the budget for the Storrs-based programs on the University’s current budget, after the 5 percent ($13.2 million) rescissions, which translates to reductions from current services of 9.2 percent in 2009-10, and 13.1 percent in 2010-11.

The Appropriations Committee budget would restore $22.4 million of the governor’s approximately $59 million in reductions.

“It is very early in the budget process,” says Richard Gray, the University’s chief financial officer.

“These amounts represent only the starting point in negotiations with the Executive Branch and will likely vary prior to the adjournment of the legislature in June. [But with] that caveat, the news is positive.”

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