University of Connecticut (UConn) students expressed differing reactions to the Democratic and Republican parties’ recent state budget proposals.
The Republicans proposed cutting funding to UConn by $37 million, according to the Connecticut Mirror. They also proposed cutting UConn Health by $29 million.
Max Turgeon, UConn College Republicans vice president and second-semester finance major, said though the Republican budget is not an “ideal situation,” it is realistic for Connecticut’s current state.
“Unfortunately, we have to make cuts. If a household sees consistently falling incomes paired with higher costs, they have to cut certain things out. The state is no different,” Turgeon said. “The labor contracts we have with the state are too expensive for us, so it’s somewhere we need to cut.”
Turgeon said no matter what budget ends up passing, Connecticut is going to pay the price for what he called the years of fiscal mismanagement the state has seen.
“The Democratic budget would exceed the state spending cap by $31 million, which would result in future tax increases, like the ones that have decimated the state’s economy,” Turgeon said. “It fails to deal with the real problems facing this state for fear of alienating the Democratic base.”
The state Democrats proposed flat-funding the university and cutting UConn Health’s budget by $2.5 million, according to the Mirror.
Stephanie Goebel, UConn College Democrats president and sixth-semester political science and human rights major, said the issue of the budget represents a disagreement between the Democratic and Republican parties on the role and function of government itself.
“As Democrats, we believe that government should be more than getting your tax return in the mail every April. It should help to deliver on the promise of our country, this land of opportunity,” Goebel said. “We see the Democrats at the Capitol striving to deliver on this promise by lobbying for keeping the budgets of various state agencies, while their Republican counterparts seek to cut those budgets by five to seven percent.”
Turgeon said he believes the 5 to 7 percent plan the Republicans proposed is necessary.
“(The cuts are) a fabulous start to shrinking the size of government,” Turgeon said.
Goebel said by not cutting UConn’s funding, Connecticut Democrats are striving to deliver on their promise of America as the land of opportunity.
“We see their efforts to promote and support higher education, at UConn by continuing to fund the state flagship university, (at) the state colleges with the Free 2 Start program (and) at the community colleges,” Goebel said. “I believe the budget the Republicans have proposed is not in this same vein of hope, but rather seeks to make cuts across the board, with little explanation of the impacts to the agencies and government entities they will cut, including UConn.”
Fourth-semester political science and psychology major Kate Stango said, though a potential $37 million budget cut is less catastrophic than the $300 million budget cut proposed last fall, she still isn’t in favor of it.
“This is our education, we’re the building blocks of Connecticut’s future society,” Stango said. “We need to invest in our education here, especially for all those kids who might not be able to come here without our low tuition rates. I think cutting anything would be a mistake.”
Fourth-semester political science and economics major Tyler DiBrino said in light of the proposed $37 million cut, he believes it is necessary for UConn to cut some of its funding.
“I think the school should find ways to tighten its belt, it has quite a bit of exorbitant spending,” DiBrino said. “I don’t know where, specifically, the cuts should come from, but there are definitely areas where the school should be able to find ways to spend money.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.