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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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February 1, 2011

UUP: Executive Budget devastating for SUNY, students

The governor’s Executive Budget, if enacted, would devastate the State University of New York,according to United University Professions President Phillip H. Smith.

The governor’s proposed budget for 2011-12 would cut the operating budget for SUNY’s state-operated campuses by about $100 million. That would bring the total amount of state support slashed from SUNY over the last three years to $685 million, or one-third of SUNY’s total operating budget.

“This latest cut would cripple SUNY’s ability to serve its students and to maintain access,” Smith said. “Without question, New York’s 60-year commitment to public higher education is being broken.”

The proposed budget also includes legislation that would allow SUNY to lease state property, give campuses the power to enter into public/private partnerships with limited oversight, and enable SUNY to contract for services without the approval of the attorney general or comptroller. Those proposals failed to gain legislative passage last year, and Smith is urging state lawmakers to reject them again.

“Clearly, these proposals are unacceptable and are not in the best interests of SUNY students, faculty, state taxpayers, and the University itself,” Smith said. “SUNY campuses exist to teach students. We cannot sit back and allow campus assets that serve students to be compromised.”

Smith also said the Executive Budget deals a major setback to SUNY’s three teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse by completely eliminating their $154 million state subsidy and by reducing Medicaid spending.

“The withdrawal of $154 million to these hospitals that rely on the subsidy would sacrifice their mission to serve the uninsured, the underinsured and the indigent. Reducing Medicaid spending would further harm hospital programs and services.”

Smith is urging state lawmakers to revise the governor’s budget to lessen the impact on SUNY.

“We’re asking the Legislature to consider how deeply SUNY has been cut by the previous administration and reject any additional reductions to SUNY’s operating budget,” Smith said.

UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 37,000 academic and professional faculty and retirees. UUP members work at 29 New York state-operated campuses, including SUNY’s public teaching hospitals and health science centers in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse. It is an affiliate of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.


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