June 28, 2010
State Budget Update
Yesterday, PSC President Barbara Bowen sent a message to members that the future of public higher education is at the center of the state’s budget battle. A major difference between the budget bill jointly proposed by the Assembly and Senate and the budget extender bill proposed by Governor Paterson is their approach to the governor’s Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, which would usher in sweeping changes at CUNY and SUNY. The joint bill by the Assembly and Senate eliminates the Empowerment Act from consideration as part of the State budget process.
The Assembly and Senate are expected to pass their budget bill today, but the governor has vowed to line item veto additional appropriations contained in the legislation passed by both houses. While this will not lead to a state government shutdown, exactly what will happen next— including the amount of state funding for CUNY’s senior and community colleges—is unclear. During this period of uncertainty, it is important to continue to make our voices heard.
Here’s what PSC members, students, and allies can do:
1) Send a letter to the State Senate thanking the Senators for dropping the Empowerment Act and calling on them to continue to fight to fund CUNY.
2) If you have not already done so, send a letter to the State Assembly, urging the Assembly to hold firm to its principled position on CUNY structure and funding. The messages you have already sent to Albany on this issue have increased our influence.
3) Call Chancellor Goldstein’s office and register your position on the importance of public discussion on the Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act, a proposal that would reduce State funding, limit student access, and tier the University: 212-794-5311. Chancellor Goldstein supports the proposed “Empowerment Act,” yet he has not held a single public discussion of the issue of differential tuition by program and college or of other potential effects of the Act with the faculty and staff.
The PSC leadership and our representatives in Albany have been working virtually around the clock to oppose the “Empowerment Act” and support restoration of funds. It is thanks to your advocacy that lawmakers understand how important it is to oppose the “Empowerment Act” and fund CUNY.
City Budget — City Council Vote Expected Tomorrow
Early Retirement Incentive — CUNY Board of Trustees Scheduled to Vote on CUNY’s Participation in the Early Retirement Incentive at Their Meeting Late This Afternoon
The PSC will send informational updates as details on final City and State budgets and on the CUNY Early Retirement Incentive become available.
PSC Office Closed Friday, 7/2 and Monday, 7/5