Release Date: June 3, 2009
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Senate today approved the UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act, marking a major step forward in passage of the bill into state law.
University at Buffalo President John B. Simpson thanked members of the Senate for their support of the bill, which will help UB move forward with UB 2020, the plan to increase UB's economic impact on Western New York from $1.7 billion to $3.6 billion annually, and create a projected 10,000 jobs in a variety of sectors -- in information technology, maintenance/custodial/trade, clerical, faculty and professional administration, and technical and research support.
The bill next goes to the state Assembly for consideration.
"The Senate's passage of this bill is great news for UB and our region; it brings us another step closer to fully implementing a plan that will benefit the entire community," Simpson said.
"We're deeply grateful to Senator William Stachowski for his steadfast support through his sponsorship of the bill, which has been pivotal to its progress through the Senate," added Simpson. "Senator Stachowski, Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith and Senators Carl Kruger, Michael Ranzenhofer, Toby Ann Stavisky, Antoine Thompson, George Maziarz and Dale Volker consistently have been strong and vocal advocates for the vital role that UB plays in transforming our region and state.
"Their willingness to champion UB 2020 as the path to a strong knowledge economy will go a long way toward extending and deepening the university's impact on our larger communities throughout the region and state."
In passing the bill, Senator Stachowski noted that current state policies interfere with the way institutions can do business in New York State.
"Relief from burdensome rules like being prevented from partnering with the private sector would save taxpayers money and keep us competitive with other state systems and public research universities," Stachowski said. "For example, by using the methods called for in this bill, we will be able save taxpayers $22 million for construction of a UB-Kaleida Health global vascular research building to be constructed in downtown Buffalo this year."
Other senators pointed out that the bill provides a sensible and immediate way for UB to achieve its UB 2020 plan -- without cost to the taxpayers.
Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said, "When fully implemented, the positive economic impact of UB 2020 will mean great things for the Western New York economy. We're talking about as many as 10,000 long-term new jobs, and hundreds of millions of dollars pumping into the economy that can be used to attract new businesses and investments across every sector. Senator Stachowski deserves credit for working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as the incredible UB leadership, to develop legislation that will help the university and the region grow."
The bill proposes to give UB the financial flexibility to pursue UB 2020, the university's plan to build a great public research university that is the catalyst for a thriving knowledge-based economy in Western New York.
Among the reforms proposed by the bill, UB would be allowed to implement a rational tuition policy whereby the university retains revenues from small increases in tuition. These revenues would used to fund campus expansion and fund a 20 percent increase in financial aid available to students, providing a sizable increase in financial aid currently available to students through the state's Tuition Assistance Program.
The bill also would provide UB with flexibility in spending and contracting, access to capital markets and the ability to lease and purchase land and facilities. These reforms would give UB the financial flexibility needed to pursue growth strategies commonly used by other large research universities nationwide.
"Passage of this bill is critical to the success of UB 2020 and represents a prosperous, innovative way forward for our community -- leading to the creation of new jobs, new businesses and a world-class university accessible to all New Yorkers," said Senator Maziarz.
Senator Volker said, "today's passage of S. 2020 in support of the University at Buffalo's 2020 program is an enormous step forward for the university.
"Academic programs, innovations, research and jobs will all be expanded because of this legislation. Giving the University at Buffalo flexibility in how they operate is a necessity in today's academic research environment. That is why this legislation is needed more than ever and why I am pleased to have voted 'yes' for this bill."
More than 30 of New York State's most prominent and influential business, labor, community and university groups support the UB 2020 initiative as the region's best strategy for economic development and regional job creation.
Supporting the UB 2020 efforts are the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Amherst Chamber of Commerce, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Town of Amherst, United Autoworkers, Kaleida Health, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Board of Block Clubs, United Way, Oishei Foundation, the UB Undergraduate Student Association, UB Faculty Senate and UB Parent Association.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.