March 6, 2006; 12:00 noon
As we approach SUNY Day 2006, the Legislative Session is beginning to pick up pace not only on the budget front but also with legislative proposal consideration at the committee level. The following will provide an update as to the budget and other legislative items of interest.
Budget - As we approach SUNY Day 206 (which is tomorrow), both houses are hard at work considering proposals for the 2006-07 budget. We have been in constant contact with both fiscal committee staffs and many key Legislators to pitch the University's needs and are getting a reasonable response.
On February 8th, the Assembly Majority issued their higher education budget response to the Executive Budget proposal which recognized most all we were asking for in our budget priorities, however, funding some of the additional spending above base over a two year period. Specifically, the Assembly is looking at providing the following: $85.3 million - to offset the revenue which would have come through an tuition increase; $13.9 million - to cover the $10 million hold harmless and $3.9 million for other base costs; $25.5 million for enrollment growth; and $7.6 million for the high need economic development and health programs for both state ops and community colleges. Of this funding, the $85.3 million and one-half of the other funding ($23.5) would be in the 2006-07 budget year one, with an additional $47 million in the 2007-08 budget year. For community colleges, the Assembly recognized the additional $150 base aid increase above the Executive budget proposal but funded it at $75 for two consecutive years.
The Senate has not yet released the details of their higher education budget response but we are hopeful that they will meet our base needs as well as add additional funding for enrollment growth and the high need programs.
As for capital projects and the "rolling capital plan", we have had numerous meetings with both the Senate and Assembly and are encouraged that both houses will be looking to add capital projects. There has been no commitment to the rolling capital plan concept, but discussions seem to point in that direction.
So, when you lobby on SUNY Day, we need to continue to stress the important need for the Legislature to fully cover the $120.9 million in base level and mandatory costs; $25.5 million for new investment in the enrollment growth which will grow our faculty ranks by 313 positions; and $7.6 million for the high need programs as both state-operated ($4 million) and community colleges ($3.6 million). Specific for community colleges, the requested $250 base aid increase remains a priority for the University. I have attached the budget priorities sheet for your reference. At the SUNY Day registration desk tomorrow, we will have packets of information for you to pickup and distribute to your legislators with whom you will be meeting.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7th at SUNY Day and anticipate a successful day of lobbying for all campuses. We have 48 campuses participating with approximately 500 advocates attending. A reminder that the luncheon starts promptly at 12:00 noon and since we have a tight speaking schedule with our legislative leaders, we ask that you arrive timely so we can begin on schedule.
New Legislators - Special Election Results for both the Senate and Assembly…our new members and no changes to the majority/minority ratios. We did add two more alums to our Legislative Alumni...Senator Mark Cappola (60th SD - Empire State College) and Assemblyman Phil Boyle (8th AD – University at Albany).
Martin Reid moves on - I wanted to inform everyone that Martin Reid, our Director of Community Relations, has accepted a position as Director of Government Affairs for the state Department of Transportation. His last day in the office will be Wednesday, March 8, 2006. Martin joined SUNY in September 1997 and we have valued his contributions to our efforts. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career at DOT.
www.supportSUNY.org - The State University's new online advocacy efforts have been quite successful. To date over 1,000 individuals have signed on and sent emails to legislators on the state budget issues. We hope campuses continue to advocate this new, progressive public advocacy initiative in order to promote the University's 2006-07 budgetary needs to ensure that the citizens of our state have access to a high quality system of public higher education. As you know, www.supportSUNY.org offers any interested individual the opportunity to express their support of the State University to their elected representatives in Albany. Let's make this happen!!
General Legislation - Specific questions on legislation can be directed to Jim Campbell,
If you have any questions or comments on any information included herewith or on any other matter, please feel free to contact Michael Trunzo.