Republican Senators to Review UConn Budget Process

June 25, 2015

Republican legislators today said they will be reviewing potential changes to state law in order to bring about more transparency to the budget approval process at the University of Connecticut.

Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) and Sen. Michael McLachlan (R-Danbury) said their concerns arose after the UConn Board of Trustees on June 24 adopted the university’s $1.3 billion budget without discussion in public and after reviewing it behind closed doors for 90 minutes.

“The governing board for Connecticut’s other public college system — the Board of Regents — holds public meetings to discuss their budgets, so why doesn’t UConn?” Sen. McLachlan said. “It’s an interesting question. UConn officials say ‘That’s how it’s always been done’ at the university. Well, maybe we can improve upon the way it has always been done. We are talking about more than a billion dollars in taxpayer money, and these budget decisions are being made in private? The public deserves better.” Sen. McLachlan is the ranking Republican senator on the legislature’s Government Administration and Elections Committee.

“Over the past four years, tuition at UConn has risen 26 percent,” Sen. Witkos said. “That’s a major concern for students and families across Connecticut. If there is a way we can make the budget process at UConn more open, we should explore it. Certainly the process should allow for public input and discussion, since it directly involves taxpayer dollars.” Sen. Witkos is the ranking Republican senator on the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Committee.

“I will continue to push UConn to be more transparent – both in this area and in regard to the UConn Foundation,” Sen. McLachlan said. “The more sunlight, the better. I look forward to crafting legislation next year which will accomplish that goal, and I think we can generate bipartisan support for it.”