CONTACT: Don Feldstein or
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2014
UUP: Executive Budget “disappointing”
ALBANY– The president of the union representing academic and professional faculty at the State University of New York today called the 2014-15 Executive Budget “disappointing.” United University Professions President Frederick E. Kowal said the governor’s plan to freeze general state support for campuses and cut support for SUNY teaching hospitals from last year’s funding levels shortchanges SUNY, its students and patients.
“The governor’s proposal continues a pattern of disinvestment in quality public higher education and public health care,” Kowal said. “The budget moves the state in the wrong direction when it comes to SUNY. It’s time to reinvest in our public colleges, universities and hospitals to protect their quality and access to higher education and health care.”
“I also question how SUNY will pay for all the new initiatives it has announced when the governor proposes to keep its funding level flat. Where is the money for those initiatives coming from? Unfortunately, it would have to come from the students.” Kowal added.
Kowal said UUP will urge state lawmakers to increase its budget allocation to SUNY’s state-operated campuses. He is also calling for the enactment of a state Public Higher Education Endowment to enable SUNY to hire more full-time faculty and professional staff.
Kowal also criticized the governor’s funding proposal for SUNY’s three teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, Long Island and Syracuse, which is far below the SFY 2010-11 funding level.
“This proposed hospital subsidy of only $69 million threatens the vital health care services that Downstate Medical Center, Stony Brook Health Sciences Center and Upstate Medical University provide. It also threatens funding for the medical education and research they conduct,” Kowal said. “All three hospitals are major employers in their respective communities. It makes no sense to say this budget is designed to grow the economy, and then undermine the jobs of thousands of employees who work at these hospitals.”
Kowal said UUP will urge state lawmakers to restore the state hospital subsidy to its former $128 million level.
Kowal also took issue with a pilot program in the proposed budget that could open SUNY’s hospitals to private investment, warning that would open the door to privatization.
“The pilot program would destroy the mission of SUNY’s public hospitals,” Kowal said.
UUP is the nation's largest higher education union, with more than 42,000 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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