State Budget Includes Funding to Advance UB 2020 Plans for Downtown Buffalo, but also will Result in a $6 Million to $9 Million Cut to UB's Operating Budget

Release Date: March 31, 2009 This content is archived.


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The 2009 state budget is expected to include funding for UB 2020 plans for downtown Buffalo, but may see significant cuts to UB's operating budget.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York State budget expected to be enacted in Albany this week includes funding to help the University at Buffalo move forward with plans to expand the UB campus in downtown Buffalo, under the UB 2020 strategic plan, UB officials said today.

However, the university also expects the budget to include an additional $6 million to 9 million in cuts to UB's state operational budget -- on top of the $21 million in cuts UB experienced last year -- through the loss of tuition revenue, through a tax on UB's sponsored research funding, and in reductions to funding UB receives through on-campus athletic events, student fees and health services.

According to UB officials, the budget calls for the reappropriation of $138 million approved last year for two projects critical to UB's plans for new construction and relocation of UB programs to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Of this funding, $118 million will be used for construction of a Center for Clinical and Translational Research and Bioscience Incubator within the 10-story Global Vascular Institute being built by Kaleida Health in partnership with UB on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Groundbreaking for the new building is expected this year, with construction to be completed by 2011.

"We are grateful for the efforts of the Western New York delegation and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Speaker Sheldon Silver in securing the reappropriation of capital construction funds that will be critical to the university's growth and impact downtown," said UB President John B. Simpson. "The reappropriation makes it possible for UB to partner with Kaleida Health to create a world-class clinical care and research facility, and represents key progress for UB 2020."

James R. Kaskie, president and CEO of Kaleida Health, said that "while the overall state budget is not too kind to health care with the millions in cuts and taxes, the UB reappropriation is good news for the partnership between Kaleida Health and UB."

"This combined clinical and research facility will transform the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus into a health care destination. It will be the model for health care, education and research," Kaskie said.

Twenty million dollars of the reappropriation will be used for UB's acquisition and renovation of the M. Wile building in downtown Buffalo, which UB purchased in 2007 and renamed the UB Gateway. The building will house several UB community programs, as well as UBMD, the university's clinical practice organization.

Achieving UB 2020 is projected to increase UB's economic impact on Western New York from $1.7 billion to $3.6 billion annually. It will generate thousands of new jobs and spur business growth throughout the region.

Funding and construction of the building with Kaleida Health represents an important step forward in the UB 2020 plan to expand UB academic and clinical health science programs in downtown Buffalo. This is also an example of the type of public-private partnerships in which UB hopes to engage in order to move UB 2020 forward during the economic downturn.

Such partnerships, UB officials say, give UB the financial flexibility to pursue the goals of UB 2020 in an expeditious and cost-effective manner, without additional burden on taxpayers. A new bill before the state Assembly and Senate proposes to give UB similar and additional flexibilities needed to move ahead with UB 2020.

"UB's partnership with Kaleida Health is a perfect example of how much our impact can expand given the regulatory relief we are seeking through A.2020/S.2020, the UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act," Simpson said.

The state budget restores and continues funding for high-profile UB research centers and programs, including the Research Institute on Addictions; MCEER, a national center of excellence focused on multi-hazard engineering headquartered at UB; the Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology, and the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR). Statewide funding for educational television and radio, which includes UB's public radio station WBFO, was partly restored to $15 million from $19 million statewide.

"While the reappropriation and restoration of funding for UB programs is positive for UB, we remain very concerned about the additional $6 million to $9 million in projected cuts this budget will bring to UB, on top of the $21 million cut in state funding we sustained last year," Simpson said.

"The best way of getting us out of this financial crisis over the short and long term is to implement the high-impact, low-cost reforms we are seeking from the state through the UB 2020 Flexibility and Economic Growth Act.

"The community is clamoring for this, and we will continue to work with the delegation and our community partners to urge these reforms in Albany that will lead to economic growth for our region and budget stability for UB," he said.

UB leaders in the coming weeks and months will develop a plan for making the expected $6 million to $9 million in cuts to its budget.

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.

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