Governor Pataki squandered his last opportunity to make right by our State’s college students. His budget not only proposed cuts to the tuition assistance program (TAP) and raises SUNY tuition by $500; he has also failed to provide vital funding to Suffolk Community College (SCCC).
In the governor’s rhetoric when he presented his budget he touted his record of investing in higher education. Unfortunately, what he didn’t say was that his budget fails to properly invest in our community colleges and their students.
The state has always been responsible for providing 33 percent of the funds for community colleges, with the local county covering an additional third, and tuition costs cover the remainder. The funding level the governor proposed does not meet the state’s obligation of 33 percent thereby shifting the burden to Suffolk County tax payers and students, with an even higher tuition cost. In fact, SCCC would lose almost $2.5 million under his budget.
As we can see from his budget proposal the governor would rather give tax cuts to the wealthiest New Yorkers than help keep a college degree affordable for students and working families. Maybe that is because he is focused on running for president instead of focusing on the needs of the working class citizens of this state.
I am committed to fighting these ill conceived cuts that only make it harder for New York’s working families to afford a college education. I also urge you to use your voice and contact the governor, to let him know his budget cuts could hurt the chances of students who want to receive a college degree. Together we can help New York State keep college affordable.