Joint Fiscal Hearings
Yesterday, the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways & Means Committees held their annual budget hearing on higher education. Vice Chancellor John O'Connor, Chairman Carl T. Hayden and Trustee H. Carl McCall presented on behalf of SUNY. CUNY, HESC, CICU, SED, UUP, NYSUT, NYPIRG and SUNY and CUNY students all presented testimony before the committee members. SUNY's presentation is located here.
Legislative reaction to SUNY's presentation during the Q&A was as follows:
Senator Stavisky - status of the Chancellor's search, rational tuition and the ability to committee future legislature and the Research Foundation and its investment practices, board membership and bidding practices.
Assemblyperson Glick - concerned with the suggested DOB sweeps and impact of the cuts, increasing use of fees, out-of-state tuition levels and RF transparency.
Senator DeFrancisco - Differences between SUNY and CUNY tuition levels and interest in greater use of distance learning and campus academic specialization
Assemblyman Hayes - Support for UB2020
Senator Valesky - SUNY infrastructure backlog and possible use of Federal stimulus resources.
Senator Montgomery - Greater promotion of Maritime in NYC high schools and the importance of Downstate Medical to the overall health care community in NYC.
Assemblyman Colton - concern for community college transfers and upper division space availability and the need to increase EOP funding
Assemblyman Miller - interest in insuring SUNY maintain access during challenging fiscal times and the relationship of a tuition increase to dropouts.
Assemblywoman Lifton - concern for increasing textbook costs and the ability of SUNY to sell/lease property.
Additional presentation highlights:
CUNY - support for the 80/20 tuition proposal, concerned with community college reduction and oppose non-state resident differential tuition
UUP - oppose Governor's cuts, support addition hospital allocations and concern with management and operational flex expansion
Student Assembly - oppose spring 2009 tuition, support rational tuition at not more that 3%-4%, support community college restoration
CICU - support for NYHELP student loan program, increase in Bundy Aid
As a general notation for the context of this budget cycle and the seriousness of the budget crisis, at the beginning of the hearing addressing all attendees who would be testifying during the day, the new Senate Finance Chair, Carl Kruger, noted "There are some new sheriffs in town. I as the chairperson am going to be very, very aggressive in finding every available dollar that's available in every nook and cranny, in every special account, in every parking account, in every cafeteria account, in every research foundation account."
Senate Majority Leadership - Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has announced key committee chairs for the 2009 session.
- Senate Finance - Senator Carl Kruger - Kings County
- Senate Higher Education - Senator Toby Stavisky - Queens County
- Senate Commerce & Economic Development - Senator Bill Stachowski - Erie County
Ranking minority members are: Senator DeFrancisco (Finance). Senator LaValle (Higher Education). Individual committee membership appointments have not been formally announced.
SUNY Legislator Alumni - As a result of the 2008 elections, SUNY is pleased to welcome several new legislators to the ranks of our Legislative Caucus:
- Senator Ranzenhofer - UAlbany, BA (1976); UB, JD (1979)
- Assemblyman Skartados - New Paltz (1985)
- Assemblywoman Corwin - UAlbany, BA (1985)
- Assemblywoman Russell - UAlbany, BA (2000)
If anyone knows of any additional members, please contact our office.