Special Session on Current Year Budget
As you know, the State Legislature was called into Special Session by the Governor to deal with the current year fiscal deficit. At a Leader's Meeting this afternoon, the Governor and Legislative leaders were not able to reach an agreement on spending reductions. Last week, the Governor proposed $2 billion in spending reductions; however, neither the Senate or Assembly acted upon the Governor's proposal, nor did they put forth their own ideas. The leaders agreed to wait for the Governor' Executive Budget to be released on December 16th and address the current year deficit when they return in January 2009.
Board of Trustees Meeting
At today's meeting of the SUNY Board of Trustees, the Board took action to approve the 2009-10 State Budget Request. The budget request was based on four pillars:
(1) Appropriate State Support for SUNY; (2) Rational Tuition Policy; (3) Expanding Entrepreneurial Activity and Public-Private Partnerships (Land Use Flexibility), and (4) Management and Operational Reforms and Efficiencies (MORE).
As stated by SUNY Chairman Carl Hayden and Finance Chair, Trustee Carl McCall, these are difficult times and this budget request contains a comprehensive package of initiatives that must be considered together as they are the only way the University can effectively respond to this financial crisis. The tuition increase by itself is not enough; the University needs the administrative flexibility to be able to help itself through the use and development of its assets.
Before I briefly describe the four pillars, I wanted to mention that the "Talking Points" address each of the four areas and I would urge you to begin to use these talking points, customized to your campus situation as necessary, with your State Legislators, campus community, local business leaders and, of course, the media. It is important that we have full support from your local legislators for our tuition increase and flexibility request. You may also review the 2009-10 Operating and Capital Budget Presentation. The Board resolutions relative to tuition and flexibility will be sent in a separate email.
(1) Appropriate State Support for SUNY
For state-operated universities and colleges, the request called for an investment by the state to meet base level needs, including negotiated collective bargaining agreements, enrollment growth and energy needs.
For community colleges, the request called for an investment in full funding of enrollment as well as a $100 investment the per student funded rate (per FTE).
For SUNY hospitals, the request called for an increase in the state subsidy to fund collectively bargained salaries and employee benefits.
For Statutory Colleges, their requests were supported as submitted.
(2) Rational Tuition Policy
The Board adopted a Rational Tuition Policy that would implement modest, annual and predictable increases based on the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). The Board also amended the current tuition policy and adopted a tuition increase for in-state undergraduate students at two (2) HEPI units which totals $310 effective in the Spring 2009 semester, with that rate annualized to $620 for the Fall 2009 semester. The final annual tuition rate as of Fall 2009 will be $4,970. The years following would be based on the HEPI index.
Out of state tuition will be raised by $1,130 for the Spring 2009, annualized to $2,260 in the Fall 2009, with the effective rate as of Fall 2009 of $12,870. Graduate and professional tuitions were also increased (please see the resolution for details).
(3) Expanding Entrepreneurial Activity and Public-Private Partnerships (Land Use Flexibility)
The Board approved a new Policy to maximize the use of capital assets, and attendant rights and interests, including air, water and mineral rights, under its jurisdiction to support the mission of the University, as well as proposed flexibility legislation to enact such authority within the Board of Trustees. Accordingly, the Board supports the development and use of such assets by public, not-for-profit and for-profit entities and the financing thereof by public and private means. In order to be proactive and to help manage asset development and use in the spirit of past legislative land lease bills, this policy sets forth a model lease or agreement under the auspices of the Board of Trustees.
(4) Management and Operational Reforms and Efficiencies (MORE)
"MORE means LESS" state regulations and administrative burdens placed upon the University. The Board approved an omnibus legislative proposal to implement administrative and procurement flexibility for the University in in the following areas:
Allow the University to control accounts with revenue from tuition, fees, and other university revenue
Implement post-audit accounting practices, instead of pre- and post-audit procedures
Ease the bureaucratic red tape in procurements and contracts
Allow the University to make decisions on the creation and categorization of personnel positions
Provide for current delivery methods in capital construction projects
The University's 2009-10 Budget Request will be transmitted to the Governor and Director of the Budget for their consideration as they prepare the Executive Budget for 2009-10. The System Administration's Office of Government Relations will begin the process of briefing all fiscal and higher education committee staff on the details of the University's budget plan and the comprehensive four-pillar package, as well as coordinate meetings between appropriate legislative leadership and System leadership. We will continue to keep you updated as the budget situation unfolds.
The SUNY Advocates website is being finalized this week and will be live with budget and other pertinent University information. We will notify you upon the site going live and coordinate with each campus advocacy efforts with your campus community.
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we work towards the end the current calendar and fiscal year, and begin work on next year's budget.
Michael C. Trunzo
Vice Chancellor for Government Relations
State University of New York
State University Plaza
Albany, NY 12246