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CONTACT: Mike Lisi (518) 640-6600
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January 18, 2017

UUP: Qualified support for proposed state budget

ALBANY - United University Professions President Fred Kowal, Ph.D., said he is encouraged by the governor’s decision to put public higher education at the forefront of his proposed 2017-18 Executive Budget through his plan for free tuition at SUNY.

Kowal also applauded the governor’s move to increase taxes for the rich as part of the so-called millionaire’s tax, and a proposal to approve the Dream Act.

While the union welcomes an emphasis on college affordability, Kowal said the state must invest new dollars in SUNY to allow the University to handle an influx of new students spurred by the governor’s proposed free tuition “Excelsior Scholarship” as it continues to offer a quality education.

“UUP has long supported free public college tuition and backed President Obama’s College Promise Campaign in 2015,” said Kowal. “It is an absolute necessity that SUNY begin recouping state dollars cut from SUNY’s budget over the last decade. We are hopeful that the Legislature will provide increased aid to SUNY to help the University hire new faculty and expand programs.”

Additionally, Kowal said the time is now for the state to fully fund its three public teaching hospitals in Brooklyn, Stony Brook and Syracuse. The state-owned facilities turn no one away, regardless of their ability to pay for care. With plans underway to repeal the Affordable Care Act, these hospitals could find themselves swamped with millions of new patients. State figures estimate that as many as 2.7 million New York residents would lose their health care if the ACA is dismantled.

Proposals for massive federal Medicaid and potential Medicare funding cuts could leave SUNY's state-run hospitals hard-pressed to deliver quality, vital health care services to hundreds of thousands of patients and affordable medical education to thousands of medical students. SUNY’s teaching hospitals provide a crucial pipeline of doctors and medical professionals to New York City and the state.

“Any rollback of the ACA would be disastrous for our state, SUNY’s public hospitals, and the patients they serve,” Kowal said. “SUNY’s hospitals desperately need a renewed commitment by the state to prepare for the additional challenges they could soon face.”

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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