March 18, 2005; 5:25pm
The Higher Education Budget Conference Committee met again this afternoon at 1:00pm...although the staffs have been engaged, nothing new came out of the session.
While the committee agrees that the $84.3 million needs to be restored/appropriated, negotiations continue on the mixture of state support versus tuition. Tuition indexing is also a major outstanding issue...with Senator LaValle insisting that the concept be discussed in the context of the 2005-06 budget. But the Assembly Majority has not indicated any serious interest in this discussion.
With that in mind, we urge President's to personally call any Assembly Majority members they have a relationship with (who support the tuition guarantee) to encourage them to raise the tuition guarantee program to their colleagues during their Democrat Conference on Monday. Our Assembly Majority supporters must literally stand-up for SUNY in the Democrat Conference and let their colleagues know why this is important to SUNY...why it is important to their constituents...and that the tuition guarantee policy should be considered with the 2005-06 budget.
Capital Projects: The Governor and the Legislative Leaders have ordered their staffs to begin to meet on capital projects. They will be meeting this weekend to compare lists and to come up with a full project list that will then be discussed at the next five-way Leaders Meeting scheduled for Sunday, March 20 at 6:30pm.
The higher education budget discussions are at a critical point. The target for completion of all negotiations is Thursday, March 24th. We are in constant contact with both Senate Finance and Assembly Ways & Means and will keep you up-to-date on the negotiations.