STORRS, CT (WFSB) -- The University of Connecticut released a new report on Tuesday saying the school generates more than $5 billion for the state’s economy.

This includes nearly 26,000 jobs and more than $270 million in state and local taxes.

The new UConn President Thomas Katsouleas said he has an obligation to show people what they get for their tax dollars.

However, this also comes three weeks before the legislature returns, and Katsouleas also mentioned things the state can do to grow that number.

“As the sole public flagship public research university in the state, we have a special responsibility to contribute to our economies and our communities,” Katsouleas said.

According to the report, the bottom line is $5.3 billion, generated by the Storrs and regional campuses, and the UConn Health Center.

The report says $3 billion of that is directly generated by UConn, including payroll, contracts and other expenses.

The rest, according to the report, is indirect impacts, like employees using salaries to pay rent.

Gov. Ned Lamont says the report shows Connecticut needs to use UConn as a tool for economic growth.

“We’re beginning to build out our university network as well, with UConn as the hub of our economic future,” Lamont said.

He pointed to other state’s using universities to support certain industries. In Connecticut, UConn could support advanced manufacturing and bio manufacturing.

“Look, we’re an incredibly competitive world right now and one of our great competitive advantages as a country right now is the quality of our university system,” Lamont said.

Along with the report, UConn also launched a website showing its impact in each town across the state. Katsouleas says his intent is to show Connecticut taxpayers what UConn does with its funding.

“The citizens support us, the legislature supports us, and we have an obligation to share back with both of them the benefit we bring back to them,” Katsouleas said.

The report also comes three weeks before lawmakers return to the capitol. Katsouleas said he wants to double research and scholarships over the next decade. He says the state needs to keep funding even.

The state gave UConn $195 million in 2013. That grew to $240 million in 2016, but is back down to $200 million this year.

“The number one priority, the number one ask is to keep the block grant steady, keep us at sea level so that we can generate new revenue,” Katsouleas said.

He said the state needs to help with unfunded pension liabilities, which cost UConn $80 million a year.

Katsouleas says unfunded liabilities take up about seven hundred dollars of each tuition bill. Fringe benefit costs also limit how much of each research grant goes to actual research.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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