Albany made a choice, just a few hours before dawn on March 31, to crush the hopes of a generation of students while handing out tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers.
“The fundamental injustice of this budget is staggering: Albany has delivered a Bush-era tax cut to the richest people in the state, and paid for it by hurting children, students, the elderly, the working class and the middle class,” said Barbara Bowen, PSC president. “Budget-setting is about making choices, and Albany has chosen the rich over the rest. The governor and the legislators who failed to stand up to him have made their priorities clear. Their budget is not just cruel, it’s counterproductive: economic austerity for millions of New Yorkers will not create jobs and will not revitalize the economy.”
Among many other attacks on ordinary New Yorkers, the final budget included $95.1 million in cuts to CUNY senior colleges and $12.3 million in cuts to base aid to CUNY community colleges. The legislature did reduce the proposed cut to CUNY community colleges by $5.2 million in the final budget, but Bowen said that was far less than is needed after three years and $350 million in state cuts to senior and community colleges.
“Our students already face larger classes, a shortage of full-time faculty, fewer available courses and higher tuition. This budget will put educational quality at risk,” said Bowen. “But the fight is not over. We will escalate our campaign for economic justice from Albany, and we will not be alone.”
PSC First Vice-President Steve London also addressed the injustice of the budget in his remarks at the Somos El Futuro conference this past weekend in Albany. “It will be our students who pay the price in real dollars and lost opportunity for the choices made in the recently adopted State austerity budget,” he said.