Think Binghamton - Legislation Update
By Diane Greiwe
On Jan. 27, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher testified in support of the legislation at a combined Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committee meeting. Zimpher emphasized that the act "uses high-impact, zero-cost solutions to create jobs, build the foundation for tomorrow's economy and strengthen public higher education, all while building New York's revenue base."
The act eliminates much of the excessive red tape governing SUNY and will enable SUNY campuses to hire new faculty and staff, increase revenue through administrative efficiencies and generate cost savings through operational and management flexibility and autonomy. In addition, a rational tuition policy — with small annual increases capped to the Higher Education Price Index — will replace the unpredictable practice of the past. The new policy will also prevent the state from seizing tuition for non-educational purposes.
Deliberations among the Senate Finance and Higher Education committees and in the Assembly Ways and Means and Higher Education committees will now continue through Apr. 1, when the state budget is finalized. At that point, it will be determined if the act will be part of the approved budget. During this critical period, Chancellor Zimpher and other SUNY representatives will continue to meet weekly with key Senate and Assembly members. Zimpher is also meeting weekly with Union representatives concerned about the potential impact of the legislation on union positions (at Binghamton, the act is expected to result in 1,800 new union jobs).
During the next few weeks, we will reach out to University supporters including alumni, asking for your help. Please take a moment to join the Think Tank advocacy group if you have not already done so. By joining the Think Tank you will receive regular updates on the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act and, at critical points in time, will be asked to help by clicking on a link to send a message to designated decision-makers. Right now we have over 6,400 members. The larger our constituency group is, the more effective our advocacy efforts will be.
Your voice in support of this legislation can make a difference.