Letter from President Bowen to NYS Legislators

Updated: April 8, 2021
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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Dear Legislators,

I am writing as the president of the 30,000-member union of faculty and staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), to call on you not to pass a budget that leaves public higher education behind.

CUNY has suffered from decades of underfunding by New York State. Unlike almost all other state-funded entities, CUNY has never been allowed to recover from the 2008 recession. And now, with billions of dollars in federal funding on the table, new revenue identified by the governor, a better state revenue picture than predicted, and years of unmet needs, CUNY is in danger of being shortchanged once again.

I call on you, on behalf of the members of my union, the PSC, and of the 275,000 CUNY students, to make additional investments in CUNY this year. It is not too late to insist on the fair taxation New York needs. I call on you to add at least $80 million to the current amount proposed for CUNY. $80 million would allow CUNY to close the full TAP Gap this year and would replace dollars that would have been generated by a tuition increase.

CUNY graduates added $4.2 billion to the tax base last year. They stay in New York after graduation and contribute immensely to the state’s economy. And this year, their communities have been among those hit hardest by COVID. If CUNY receives the funding it needs, the University will be an essential path to recovery for these communities.
If New York is serious about an inclusive economic recovery and about a transformation of our state for the future, there is no better investment than CUNY. I call on you to speak up and stand up for what’s right. There may never be a chance as good as this one to do the right thing for New York by doing the right thing for CUNY.

Yours,
Barbara Bowen
President, PSC/CUNY