It was with great “fan-fare” that Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy traveled to Manchester Community College this past January to announce his “Transform CSCU 2020” initiative.
Malloy claimed that his plan would provide Connecticut’s State Universities and Community Colleges with an extra $60.2 million in funding. Governor Malloy stated at the time,
“This is only a down payment… I’m making a personal commitment, and I hope future governors will make a personal commitment to make sure that this program continues.”
At the press conference, the President of Manchester Community College declared,
“We’re here today to celebrate the governor’s goal to support student success by his investment…It’s this investment that will better position us to be on the leading edge with our academic programs and will increase public higher education’s role in sustaining and expanding economic vitality for this state of Connecticut.”
But unfortunately, like so many of Governor Malloy’s “initiatives,” the reality of his plan failed to match the rhetoric delivered at his press conference… In fact, the plan didn’t match the rhetoric at all.
As a result of Malloy’s historic cuts to higher education, Connecticut’s state universities and community colleges are facing a very real and a very serious $42 million shortfall for the coming fiscal year.
This projected budget deficit means that the four Connecticut State University campuses and the twelve community college campuses need $42 million just to maintain the existing level of reduced services, let alone provide additional services to Connecticut’s college students.
Yet rather than confront the budget deficit that resulted from his previous actions, Governor Malloy tried to portray his new proposal as an effort to enhance and expand Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.
By calling his $60 million initiative, “Transform CSCU 2020,” Malloy’s plan was little more than a public relations ploy since realistically, the $42 million of the $60 million of the “new” money is need simply to maintain existing services. The remaining $20 million was all that would have been available to actually enhance or “Transform” existing programs at these public universities and colleges.
Almost immediately, questions about Malloy’s plan were raised. Here is a link to the CT Mirror’s story entitled, “Malloy’s CT state college plan:”
But even Malloy’s initial gimmick was not to be.
By the time the Connecticut General Assembly was ready to take up the proposed state budget, Malloy’s $60 million “Transform CSCU 2020” initiative, and its complex revenue intercept plan, was gone and replaced with a simple $47 million allocation to the Board of Regents.
And when the budget was actually voted on last Saturday, the “Transform” initiative had dropped again, from $47 million to $42 million —- just enough to fill the budget deficit created by Malloy’s earlier budget cuts.
The truth is that what was left of Malloy’s “Transform” plan left nothing at all for new programs at CSU or the community colleges.
Yet, in a grotesque failure to be honest, Malloy and the General Assembly continued to call the reduced allocation, “Transform CSCU 2020,” leaving many legislators and interested observers thinking that it was the same initiative Malloy had proposed in January.
Also, in typical fashion, Malloy didn’t even properly fund the $42 million budget allocation.
The new state budget actually allocates $23 million in state funds to the Board of Regents to help fill their budget deficit and transfers another $19 million from the financial assets of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to the Board of Regents so that it can close the rest of its budget deficit.
Of course, by using one-time revenue, Malloy has assured that the public colleges and universities start the following year with a $19 million deficit and counting…a deficit that will be part of Malloy’s $1.3 billion dollar state deficit that must be cleaned up by the state’s next governor.
Truth be told, in its final form, Malloy’s Transform CSCU 2020 is nothing more than an effort to backfill the budget deficits Malloy’s own plans created.
As an aside, Malloy’s decision to raid the assets of the Connecticut State Loan Foundation wasn’t limited to the $19 million for the State Universities and Community Colleges.
The Governor, with the support of the legislature’s Democrats, also grabbed $4,400,000 of the financial assets of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation for the “CHET Baby Scholars Program” and $1,600,000 of the financial assets of the Connecticut Student Loan Foundation to pay for the Office of Higher Education’s “Governor’s Scholarship Program.”
Irresponsible budgeting doesn’t even begin to describe what Malloy has done with this new state budget.