Legislative Update March 28, 2008
March 28, 2008
The Joint Budget Subcommittee on Higher Education met today to outline the Senate and Assembly preliminary recommendations for addressing both Governor Spitzer’s and now Governor Paterson’s proposed reductions to higher education.
As a result of the five-way budget framework agreement reached last night, SUNY is facing an additional 3.35% reduction across the board above the original 2.5% reduction which results in an $80 million reduction for the state operated campuses. Local assistance was cut another 2% across the board resulting in a $120/FTE ($50 plus $70) total reduction for the community colleges, as well as 2% reductions to Rental Aid, Contract Courses, and Child Care.
Unfortunately, the General Conference Committee has allocated only $90 million for higher education restorations. Since the overall reduction to NYS higher education totals over $155 million, the $90 million restoration is far from sufficient.
The Higher Education subcommittee will be meeting again at 4:30 this afternoon. We are working with both houses to ensure as much of a restoration to SUNY’s funds as possible.
Both the Senate and Assembly expressed discontent that they are having to deal with restorations in a year that was supposed to be the year of higher education.
All that said, both houses are looking at targeted restorations for state operated campus funding and community college base aid. However, full restoration is not a certainty.
We are working with our colleagues at NYSUT/UUP and the City University of New York to push for full restorations.
As for capital plan funding, the leadership will deal with that issue and we are in continual discussions with the fiscal committees. At this point, no agreements have been reached between the Senate and Assembly on funding amounts or projects.
This process seems to be moving quickly and we will keep you informed throughout the weekend.