PSC's Budget Platform│Albany's Tax Deal│Budget Info From CUNY│PSC Testimony Re CUNY's Budget Request│Gov. Cuomo's Exec. Budget│PSC's State Budget Testimony│Clarion Coverage of State Budget│Student, Faculty, Staff Higher Ed Action Day│Other Advocacy Opportunities│NYSUT's Online Member Action Center
Lawmakers Propose New Investments in CUNY in Final State Budget
The Governor and Legislature announced their agreement on the State budget for fiscal year 2013(academic year 2012-13)on Tuesday, March 27.For CUNY, the final budget includes the following additions to the Governor’s Executive Budget: $150 per FTE for community colleges, $544,000 for CUNY childcare centers, and $1 million for CUNY LEADs restoration. Some opportunity programs also received additional funding, including the C-STEP, which received $778,000 and operates at eight CUNY colleges.
The budget did not include funds for another PSC priority, the NY DREAM Act, legislation that would have expanded the State's Tuition Assistance Program to cover undocumented students.
In a statement released to the press, PSC President Barbara Bowen said the following:
“By adding $150 per full-time equivalent student at the community colleges and restoring campus childcare and services for students with disabilities, the Legislature has begun to address the desperate need for public reinvestment in CUNY. But CUNY’s needs are so great after the budget cuts of the last three years that these restorations don’t come close to reversing the damage.”
CUNY students are being forced to pay 30% more in tuition over five years, but Albany is not asking the 1% to pay their fair share. Instead of investing in our future in the children of the 99% who attend CUNY, Albany is continuing to protect tax loopholes that favor corporations and the super-rich.”
A new, inferior pension plan (Tier 6) that will apply to all CUNY employees, including adjuncts, who join Teachers Retirement System on or after April 1, was passed earlier in March as part of the budget negotiation. See President Bowen's statement about Tier 6.
These investments fall far short of what we need at CUNY, but are nonetheless welcome news, and a direct result of campaign mounted by the PSC: union members attended more than 100 lobby visits in Albany and at legislators’ local offices this spring, hundreds more sent letters to lawmakers and made phone calls, and many members also rallied against pension cuts and underfunding with students and with our NYSUT colleagues.
CUNY and the FY2013 State Budget
In January, Governor Cuomo released the Executive Budget, his submission to the Legislature containing a plan of recommended appropriations, expenditures, and revenue projections for the coming fiscal year. (Fiscal Year 2013 overlaps academic year 2012-2013.)
For the first time in three years, the Governor proposed a State budget with no cuts to CUNY. In fact, the new budget begins to stabilize CUNY funding by providing for the university's mandatory needs, including funding to cover the rising costs of mandatory expenses like energy, salary steps and health insurance for adjuncts. These welcome investments come after three years of cuts to CUNY funding totaling $300 million.
Unfortunately the Executive Budget includes no restored funding for CUNY's over-crowded, under-resourced community colleges, and it proposes a new, poorer pension tier that will undermine CUNY's recruitment of top-quality faculty and staff.
PSC is campaigning to urge the Governor and the Legislature to the build on the Executive Budget, starting with new investments to hire additional full-time faculty and replenish the community colleges. We're also calling on the Legislature to reject categorically any attack on pensions for new CUNY employees.
PSC's Platform for Opportunity
PSC members will urge Albany to make these investments in CUNY via a campaign that blends direct advocacy, grassroots mobilization, and media organizing. (See PSC's full list of budget and legislative priorities.)
Continue progressive tax reform and close tax loopholes so the State can invest in CUNY.
If the 1% pays their share, New York can provide opportunity for the 99%, and the State economy will benefit. Instead of increasing tuition, end unfair tax policies that favor corporations, hedge fund managers and real estate tycoons, and use the revenue to end austerity conditions at CUNY.
Give community colleges the resources they desperately need—restore $685/FTE.
Overcrowded and underfunded, CUNY community colleges can’t give many students the attention and support they need because the State provides far less than the 40% share of funding specified by law. Another $685/FTE will lift the State’s actual share from 24% to 29%, restoring their funding to its inflation-adjusted 2008-09 level and providing $49.4 million for CUNY.
Fund 950 new full-time faculty lines
Fund CUNY's request to add 450 full-time faculty and provide community college restorations to add another 500 full-time faculty.
Fight exploitation of adjunct faculty
Adjuncts teach more than half the courses at CUNY, yet they have far fewer job protections than their full-time colleagues. The Legislature should:
- Retain adjuncts’ access to health insurance by fully funding CUNY’s mandatory needs.
- Support Unemployment Insurance for Adjuncts so CUNY can't skirt the law and prevent them from accessing Unemployment Insurance when they are unemployed between semesters.
Reject Tier VI Pensions
Recruiting and retaining talented faculty and staff makes the difference for many CUNY students. Severely reduced retirement benefits will sabotage CUNY’s effort to attract top-quality faculty and staff.
Make the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) work for all students—and for CUNY
- TAP doesn't treat all students equitably. Expand the TAP to treat part-time and independent students without dependents fairly and make it available to undocumented students.
- CUNY’s student body relies more heavily on TAP than SUNY’s, so CUNY is disproportionately affected by the State’s new tuition discounting policy. Instead of unfairly reducing CUNY’s resources, increase maximum TAP grants to match public university tuition