New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his Executive Budget early last month, and the news was not good for CUNY.
The Democratic governor wanted to shrink the state’s responsibility over CUNY. In essence, it proposed a cut of $485 million and make New York City pay that gap.
But Cuomo backed off from the plan after criticism from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, known for his previous conflicts with Cuomo. He said the cuts to CUNY—and Medicaid—were unfair. At a press conference, the mayor said he will challenge the governor over the planned cuts.
“There are two items in the budget that are not fair to New York City. That will be harmful to New York City, that will set us back and will particularly set back our students at CUNY and will set back the people of this city in terms of healthcare,” he said.
Cuomo told NY1 last month the city and state will review ways to ensure money is spent efficiently in CUNY.
“At the end of the day, there will be no cut to CUNY. I want to see more money at CUNY at the end of the day, and more money in the classroom,” Cuomo said.
This is wrong. It is hard to believe a governor who vetoed the Maintenance of Effort bill last December. The bill provided stable funding to CUNY, well, would have provided until Cuomo vetoed it. If Cuomo wanted more money, he would have signed the bill.
We applaud the Governor’s actions on the minimum wage and infrastructure renovations. But his decision earlier this year is frightening to say at least.
Let’s look at the facts. First, CUNY professors and staff do not have a contract. The problem is the lack of money in CUNY’s pocket, which means a bad contract. Only sizable amount of money from the state could solve this.
Second, tuition is increasing across CUNY. CUNY officials might privately oppose this, but understand their hands are tied. Either its layoffs or tuition hikes. They opted for the latter.
Third, the lack of investment in CUNY is revealing. A Gothamist article last year highlighted how City College of New York needed to manage a $14.6 million budget deficit. The most obvious solution is cuts to education, as an exponential increase to tuition is out of the question.
We could go on, but the point remains the same. More money for CUNY.