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Advocating for CUNY Funding Before the Looming NYS Budget Deadline

PSC members and CUNY Rising activists were in Albany March 26 to keep pushing for increased CUNY funding and progressive taxation in the state budget

A team of PSC members and students working with the CUNY Rising Alliance headed to Albany March 26th for what may have been our last chance for in-person member advocacy for CUNY funding in this budget session. Led by PSC officers and members of the union’s Legislative Committee, they visited legislators’ offices and stopped them  in the halls of the Capitol to lobby for increased funding for CUNY and more progressive tax policies.

This year, the Senate and Assembly each proposed millions of additional dollars for CUNY  in their one-house budgets. So our member lobbyists urged the legislators they approached to keep fighting to achieve the proposed increase in the final budget. We handed out bags of candy–100 Grands, Pay Day bars, Candy coins–to make the point that CUNY needs more money and to sustain our legislative allies though the final negotiations. (It has since been announced that the budget session will run past the April 1 deadline to at least April 4).

Two rallies bookended the day, a morning event with the Invest in Our New York Coalition in the War Room of the NYS Capitol to call for increased income taxes on income and corporate profits over $5 million and and an afternoon an afternoon press conference in support of CUNY, SUNY and community colleges.

PSC President James Davis  stood with New York State United Teachers President Melinda Person, United University Professions President Fred Kowal, lawmakers and advocates at the state Capitol on Tuesday,  March 26 in calling on the Legislature to hold firm on increased funding for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges in the state’s final budget.

Union leaders noted that although SUNY, CUNY and community colleges received historic funding increases in last year’s budget, the money wasn’t sufficient to repair years of disinvestment.

This year, the Senate and Assembly each proposed millions of additional dollars in their one-house budgets, and NYSUT, UUP and PSC are strongly urging the Legislature to ensure state higher education funds are sent where they are needed most.

The crowd representing CUNY and SUNY students, staff and faculty urged the governor and lawmakers to stand strong so that these funding increases are included in the final budget deal, a vital first step in finally supporting our world-class institutions at the levels our students and state deserve.

“There are precious few days before the ink goes dry on the state budget and we need to make sure any fiscal plan fully funds New York’s public universities. That’s why we came to the state Capitol today, joining students, our SUNY colleagues and our champions in the state Senate and Assembly. These legislators have rightfully called for the maximum possible increase in investment in CUNY. Many of them attended public universities and they know the struggles faced by our students, our union members, and the communities that we serve. We need them to stay strong and fight to fund CUNY in the final budget,” said James Davis, president of the Professional Staff Congress CUNY.

Read more in the NYSUT news release. 

Video from the Higher Ed Press Conference

Watch the whole playlist of speakers on YouTube


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