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For Immediate Release
February 4, 2021

UUP: State must take bold action, invest in SUNY to recover from pandemic

UUP President Frederick E. Kowal, Ph.D., will deliver testimony Thursday, Feb. 4, urging lawmakers to take bold steps to increase funding to improve public health care at SUNY’s hospitals, expand access to SUNY’s successful opportunity programs and create an opportunity program for medical students, and take concrete steps to combat the climate crisis.

The initiatives, found in UUP’s NY HEALS (Healthcare, Education, Access, Leadership and Sustainability) plan would be funded through a series of new revenue streams—including taxes on billionaires and the ultra-rich and reinstating the state’s Stock Transfer Tax—that Kowal will urge lawmakers to approve during his testimony.

Kowal will testify before a virtual joint hearing by the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means committees on the governor’s 2021-2022 Executive Budget. UUP has expressed its strong opposition to the Executive spending plan, which cuts $46 million from SUNY’s budget.

“We cannot cut state services anymore,” Kowal said. “Our campuses, our schools and our communities cannot sustain any more austerity. To recover, New York state must be ambitious and aggressive in addressing the multiple crises we face: COVID, the climate crisis and economic and racial divisions. SUNY can and must lead the way in addressing these crises. Resources are there for this crucial work and it is high time that New York’s ultra-millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share for the benefit of our entire state.”

WHEN: The hearing starts at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. UUP will testify as part of Panel A, which follows testimony from SUNY, CUNY, the state Education Department and the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

WHERE: The virtual hearing will be streamed live. Click HERE to access the livestream.

WHO: UUP President Fred Kowal will testify at the hearing. He will be available to speak to media before and after his testimony.

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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