BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gov. David A. Paterson announced today that he
will include in his 2010 Executive Budget significant reforms that
would give SUNY -- and the University at Buffalo -- the financial
flexibility to position the system and university to play a major
role in the state's economic resurgence and support UB 2020 as a
basis for economic transformation in Western New York.
The proposed reforms, Paterson said, are the most significant to
New York State's system of public higher education in a generation
and will help SUNY achieve a model of excellence that will better
prepare students for new economy jobs that will drive New York's
The reforms are based on groundwork laid by UB and by SUNY's
Board of Trustees. They include changes to tuition, budget,
management and operational policies, similar to those in the UB
2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act proposed last year by
Western New York's legislative delegation and passed by the
The reforms are intended to free SUNY from an "over-burdensome
system of overregulation threatening the ability of our public
higher education system to successfully adapt to changing
educational and fiscal circumstances," Paterson said.
President John B. Simpson said the reforms proposed by Paterson
with SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher "are exactly what SUNY's
research universities need to compete with the nation's best public
universities and thereby will help fuel the economic future of New
"These are common-sense reforms that will create no additional
costs for taxpayers, while providing flexibility to the State
University of New York," he said.
As a result of the reforms, Simpson said SUNY will be in a "much
better position to strengthen its academic programs, provide
additional opportunities for its students, generate more jobs and
produce additional discoveries that will help our state move toward
a new, robust economy-- one based on innovation and knowledge."
The governor's reforms, Simpson continued, "will help UB rise
among the nation's top public research universities and fulfill the
promise of UB 2020 -- our plan to achieve UB's full potential, grow
the university in both quality and size, and significantly increase
our economic impact on Western New York."
Full implementation of the UB 2020 strategic plan will increase
UB's annual economic impact on Western New York and New York State
from $1.7 billion to $3.6 billion and create thousands of new
Simpson said he was pleased the governor's reforms contain
provisions for extending the Tuition Assistance Program and keeping
tuition increases modest and predictable. "These provisions will
help ensure that New York State students and families will continue
to have access to an affordable, high-quality education," he
Paterson's proposal -- called the Public Higher Education
Empowerment and Innovation Act -- drew praise from leaders across
Western New York.
"We've seen the state's willingness to utilize SUNY as an
economic driver in New York with Senate passage of the UB 2020
legislation adopted during our 2009 session," noted Sen. William T.
Stachowski, the sponsor of the UB bill. "And while this measure was
a good first step in recognizing the vital role that the state
university system can play in creating jobs and keeping our
children in New York as productive members of our community, the
governor's proposal will certainly help us in the legislature in
promoting programs that are budget neutral and high impact.
Although we may view this as a second step in the process, I'd like
to think that our UB 2020 bill is the model we will use going
forward in promoting the SUNY system and New York State as a
"Passage of these reforms is very important to the City of
Buffalo because it will enable UB to reach the full potential of UB
2020," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. "This, in turn, will lead to
substantial new job and business growth in Buffalo -- especially
within the city's emerging downtown medical campus.
"I am hopeful our leaders in Albany will recognize the critical
importance of these reforms for Buffalo's and UB's future, and will
support passage of the reforms into law."
Assemblyperson Robin Schimminger said, "UB's 2020 proposal was a
bold initiative to move the university forward into the new
century. UB 2020 has now become the linchpin of the governor's new
initiative that will enable UB and other SUNY schools to implement
changes and reforms that will better serve students and at the same
time maximize the university's ability to contribute to the
economic vitality of Western New York."
Assemblymember Crystal Peoples said she is appreciative of the
governor's inclusion of last year's UB 2020 legislation into the
Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act. "Given the
financial condition of the state, these public policy reforms make
sense for UB, the State University of New York and most importantly
for the communities in which they reside and impact," she said.
The governor's proposal:
• Authorizes the boards of trustees for SUNY and CUNY to
implement a responsible and rational incremental tuition policy
that will provide the universities with the discretion to raise
tuition up to an annual cap of two-and-one-half times the five-year
rolling average of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), making
it easier for students and families to anticipate and plan for the
true cost of attendance over the course of a degree program.
• Authorizes the SUNY and CUNY trustees to implement
differential tuition rates for programs and campuses within their
systems, based on the recommendation of the college president and
in accordance with specific guidelines promulgated by the
• Moves tuition outside the state budget process, allowing
SUNY and CUNY to receive and disburse revenues from tuition and
self-supporting program activities without an appropriation.
• Authorizes the lease of real property under the
jurisdiction of SUNY to other entities in support of its
educational purpose, and the participation in public/private
partnerships that will benefit SUNY's mission, subject to approval
of a newly created State University Asset Maximization Review
• Removes provisions of law subjecting SUNY and CUNY to
pre-approval of contracts by the Office of the State Comptroller
(OSC) in order to streamline the procurement of goods and services,
while maintaining provisions requiring the post-audit of such
contracts by OSC.
• Allows post-audit in lieu of pre-audit requirements for
attorney general approval of leases between SUNY and its alumni
associations in support of dormitory projects.
• Prescribes specific semi-annual reporting requirements on
revenues and expenditures at a campus-specific level to ensure
continued transparency and accountability.
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt applauded the governor for this proposal,
which he said "will increase investment in our public university
system at no cost to taxpayers, create jobs and develop knowledge
in areas that will allow New York State to be more competitive than
ever in the global economy."
"This proposal is a tremendous step forward for SUNY and it will
have major impact on the efforts to move New York State's economy
into the future," said Assemblymember Mark Schroeder. "These much
needed changes will help the SUNY schools better serve their
students and strengthen the communities where they are located. The
plan will also provide something else that is desperately needed in
this state -- thousands of quality jobs in a wide range of
Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara
Partnership, said that for the past three years, UB 2020 has been
identified as Buffalo Niagara's No. 1 economic-development
priority. "We now are pleased to see that what's good for this
region is being recognized as good for the rest of the state.
Making the reform measures sought by UB 2020 available to a larger
number of SUNY schools -- even the entire SUNY system -- will
enable the communities statewide to reap the same economic benefits
envisioned for Buffalo Niagara," he said.
"We are pleased that Gov. Paterson also recognizes this enormous
promise by his inclusion of SUNY reform language in the Executive
Budget, and we look forward to working with the state Legislature
on seeing these reforms come to fruition."
The Rev. Richard Stenhouse, president of The Jeremiah
Partnership, an influential coalition of Buffalo pastors, said the
partnership has "joined with our entire community over the past two
years to promote UB 2020 as this region's best hope for an economic
revival. We are excited to learn that Gov. Paterson has announced
that he supports the SUNY reforms that will allow the University at
Buffalo to implement its bold plan for the future.
"The thousands of jobs these reforms will lead to in Western New
York are critical given Buffalo's high poverty and unemployment
numbers. The governor has demonstrated with today's announcement
that he is serious about fixing the Upstate economy and we look
forward to working with him to see that that happens."
Paul Brown, president of Buffalo Building Trades Council, said
he strongly supports Paterson's reforms. "This legislation -- born
from last year's UB 2020 legislation -- will lead to the creation
of tens of thousands of construction jobs throughout New York State
and move our economy forward. I applaud the governor for his
leadership and look forward to working with him, the University at
Buffalo and the State University of New York."
Assemblyman Jack Quinn, the ranking minority member of the
Assembly Higher Education Committee, said he will "do all I can to
see that this landmark legislation is signed into law.
"I am thrilled to see Gov. Paterson has included these reforms
in his 2010 budget proposal," Quinn added. "This bold and
intelligent initiative will allow UB to fully implement its
long-term strategic plan, UB 2020. And by allowing the state's
public research universities to rationally control their tuition
and operations -- freeing them from the political impulses of the
annual budget -- UB can finally reach its full economic, social and
cultural potential. This legislation will directly create thousands
of jobs, revitalize distressed neighborhoods, allow modern
industries to emerge and invigorate Western New York's
Sen. Dale M. Volker said the governor's proposal is "a great
development for the future and may be seen as a key moment in the
economic history of Western New York. It has been desperately
needed for a long time."
Sen. George Maziarz said: "No other economic development project
in Western New York enjoys widespread support like UB 2020. I want
to help make it happen and create thousands of good jobs. These
reforms will generate much of the necessary resources, and we won't
be taking it out of the pockets of taxpayers."
Assemblyperson James Hayes said, "It is vital for the future of
Western New York that UB be one of the cornerstones of economic and
job growth, which are important goals of UB 2020. We must continue
to move ahead with these plans."
Erie County Executive Chris Collins said it was "welcome news to
hear that Gov. Paterson plans to give UB the necessary freedom to
transform itself into a world-class research institution, allowing
the university to achieve its UB 2020 vision. The growth and
development of UB will have a dramatic impact on our community and
represents one of our best opportunities to rebuild the local
Assemblyperson Jane Corwin said, "The innovation proposal for
SUNY is a cost-neutral and all-encompassing reform package that
will provide our higher education institutions with the proper
tools and flexibility to achieve their respective goals."
She added that the proposal hits on precisely what she has been
advocating for UB and all of SUNY since she took office last
"I applaud President Simpson and the University at Buffalo for
their tireless efforts to implement real reform to the State
University of New York. These reforms will directly result in
creating jobs and delivering an education with the highest
standards so students can compete in a 21st century global economy.
As a graduate of the University at Buffalo, I'm glad Gov. Paterson
has included these proposals in his Executive Budget," said Sen.
Colleen DiPirro, president and CEO of the Amherst Chamber of
Commerce, said that Paterson's proposal "signals a new day in
Albany and a bright economic future for Western New York.
"Our entire community has rallied around our own hometown
university and its plan -- UB 2020, which will jumpstart a new
innovation economy. We're grateful that the governor has chosen to
stand with us," she said.
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.