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BUDGET CAMPAIGN:  2010-11 - WHAT'S NEW

 

WHAT'S NEW | WHAT'S NEXT | WHAT WE CAN DO

PSC BUDGET PROGRAMS
STATE | CITY

 

WHAT'S NEW

LATEST UPDATES

State Budget Cuts

While stopping PHEEIA was a major victory, the budget approved by the Legislature currently includes funding reductions for CUNY senior and community colleges. There is, however, some possibility these reductions can be mitigated if federal legislation for increased funding to the states passes. The PSC will do everything we can do to resist reductions and to protect the interests of our members and of CUNY students.  [Posted 8/10/10]

VICTORY ON EMPOWERMENT ACT -- LETTER FROM BARBARA BOWEN TO PSC MEMBERS:

8/4/10

Dear Members, 

Last night [Tuesday, 8/3/10] the New York State Legislature finally passed a budget—and it did not include the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act,” the plan to charge different tuition for different majors and to replace public funding for CUNY and SUNY with private tuition dollars. 

The governor and certain legislators, often for narrow political reasons, were trying to force through a restructuring of CUNY and SUNY that would have affected the universities for a generation.  Thanks to your opposition, and the support we received from NYSUT and other groups, we stopped them. 

In the course of just a couple of weeks, the PSC generated 7,606 letters to legislators on the “Empowerment Act”—the highest number the union has ever sent.  I saw a real change in the conversation in Albany as the force of our opposition was felt.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Higher Education Chair Deborah Glick became powerful opponents of the proposal, particularly of its effect on access to education; and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus defined opposition to the proposal as a civil rights issue.  They held firm, and the proposal’s supporters were not able to win passage. 

Chancellor Goldstein continued, throughout the process, to be a supporter of the legislation, even though he has never held a public discussion of the issue with the University’s faculty, staff and students. 

The impulse behind the “Empowerment Act” has not disappeared, however.  The State Senate announced a “framework agreement” for tuition increases and private economic development at four SUNY campuses, but this agreement was not voted on by the legislature.  The “Empowerment Act” did not pass, and that is a victory for everyone who believes in public support for public education and in the principle that higher education should help to dismantle—not intensify—existing inequities of race and class. 

The State budget as a whole remains difficult for CUNY, with cuts in funding for both four-year and community colleges.  Assuming these cuts remain, the PSC will do everything we can to protect the interests of our members and of CUNY students.  We will update you as the impact of these reductions becomes clear. 

Meanwhile, I want to thank you for your support, and send my thanks also to the union’s NYSUT representatives in Albany, who did a superb job representing our position. 

Best wishes for the rest of the summer,
Barbara Bowen
President

[Click here for more on why the PSC opposed PHEEIA]

State Budget Impasse ContinuesThe State Legislature was called into special session on July 28 by Gov. Paterson but no progress was made toward finalizing the New York State budget.

The Assembly and the State Senate have both passed a budget authorizing State spending, and the Assembly has also passed a revenue bill to fund it.  But State Senate action on the revenue measure remains blocked by some Senators’ insistence on first passing some version of Paterson’s plan for CUNY & SUNY, the “Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act” (PHEEIA). 

Opposition to the privatization and differential tuition pieces of the PHEEIA proposal has been building among Senate Democrats, especially among members of the Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus.  Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, chair of the Caucus, said that if some Senators insist on PHEEIA being part of the budget, then there is a "stalemate."

The PSC is strongly opposed to PHEEIA (more on the union’s position here).  To send a message to your representatives, click here.   [Posted 8/3/10]

THE LATEST BUDGET UPDATES are in the 7/26/10, 7/19/10, 7/12/10 and 7/6/10 editions of This Week in the PSC.  [Posted 7/26/10]

NOTE ON PHEEIA. The revenue legislation on the state budget has been held up in the Senate by a united Republican opposition and a lone Democrat from Buffalo, Senator Stachowski.  Since the Democrats have a one vote margin, one senator can stop the State Senate from acting.  Senator Stachowski is demanding action on the Governor's Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act (PHEEIA). PSC members have sent 5000 messages opposing passage of Paterson's proposed "Public Higher Education Investment & Empowerment Act" (PHEEIA) – a bill that would neither increase State investment, nor empower faculty, staff or students.  Click below for press coverage on PHEEIA (and go to the 7/12/10 and 7/6/10 editions of This Week in the PSC for more detailed analysis of the PHEEIA issue in Albany)

State budget in flux -- URGENT! SEND AN ACT NOW LETTER.  

[Posted 7/1/10]  Send a letter to your state senator demanding the immediate passage of the state budget revenue bill without CUNY/SUNY privatization language.  Hour-by-hour, the Albany budget situation changes.  The Senate and Assembly have passed budget authorization bills which restored $21 million in CUNY community college cuts and $49 million in State-wide TAP reductions.  The Senate and Assembly bills accepted the Governor’s cut to CUNY senior colleges of $84.4 million.  However, the Governor has vowed to veto the community college and TAP restorations.  We will send additional messages about how you can participate in a veto override campaign.

Right now, at the center of Albany budget negotiations is the Governor’s Public Higher Education Empowerment Initiative Act (PHEEIA).  The PSC, UUP, NYSUT, and other state unions are strongly opposed to PHEEIA.

The legislature still has to pass revenue bills to fund its spending plan and PHEEIA is a central issue.  Currently, the two houses of the legislature are embroiled in a high drama disagreement about how to proceed on the revenue bills.  While the Assembly has consistently and strongly opposed PHEEIA because it would deny access and shift funding of higher education from the state to students, several Senate Democrats are strong supporters of PHEEIA, believing it will help with the economic development of their regions.  Since the Senate has only a two seat majority, Senate Democrats have to have everyone’s agreement to pass legislation since the Senate Republicans are ritually voting against all Democratic budget proposals.

Pro-PHEEIA Senate Democrats (Stachowski of Buffalo and Foley of Long Island) are currently holding the budget revenue bills hostage.  They are demanding PHEEIA language in the revenue bills or they will withhold their votes.  Bringing down the state budget over a non-budget item and one that would undermine access at CUNY is unconscionable.  Please, send a letter to your state senator now demanding a vote on the revenue bill without PHEEIA language. 

There’s still time to send a letter to thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Higher Ed Committee Chair Deborah Glick if you haven’t already. It lets them know how much we appreciate their standing firm against PHEEIA.

CITY BUDGET UPDATE. 

[Posted 7/1/10]  The City budget for CUNY, passed on Tuesday 6/29, is welcomed good news.  CUNY community college base aid was increased over last year’s budget; a significant victory in this difficult budget climate.  There were some disappointments, too.  Full update.

WHAT'S NEW | WHAT'S NEXT | WHAT WE CAN DO
ARCHIVE | MARCH 22-23 BUDGET BLITZ | MAIN BUDGET PAGE

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