Statement by Chika Onyejiukwa, USS Vice Chair for Legislative Affairs on Governor Cuomo’s Fiscal Year 2016-17 Executive Budget

January 15, 2016

We are deeply disappointment to learn that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Fiscal Year 2016-17 Executive Budget proposes profound cuts to the City University of New York (CUNY) and supports extending the so-called “Rational” Tuition Plan.

 

The governor’s Executive Budget shifts the onus of public funding of our university’s senior colleges from the state to the City of New York. Under the governor’s plan, the state would reduce funding to CUNY by $485 million and pass the tab to the City of New York to cover the budget gap.

 

This drastic state divestment proposal, coupled with the governor’s veto of the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) bill which would have covered the mandatory inflationary costs at SUNY and CUNY, further evinces the continual reliance on tuition increases to make up for the failure of the state to meet its responsibility to provide for the education of the whole people.

 

CUNY is experiencing growing record enrollment numbers and an overwhelming majority of our students and alumni live and work in New York City and State. Instead of passing the buck, it is time to invest the buck in CUNY. The state’s investment would be returned through increased tax contributions over the lifetimes of our current and future students.

 

We urge the legislators of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate to fulfill the spirit of Section 6201 of the New York State Education Law, which states “there should be full state funding of senior college operating and debt service.”

 

We call on the state legislature to reject the governor’s proposed budget cuts and increase public state funding to CUNY. Students will not stand by silently as CUNY is shortchanged and budgets are balanced on our backs.

 

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About the University Student Senate

The University Student Senate (USS) of the City University of New York (CUNY) is the official representative governance organization of the 500,000 students at CUNY. Founded in 1972, USS is responsible for preserving the accessibility, affordability, and excellence of higher education within the City of New York.

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