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Governor Says It's Higher Education's Turn

January 10, 2008

Albany, NY - Governor Spitzer spent his first year in office focused on primary education. Now, in his second State of the State message yesterday, he said it is time to turn to higher education with an initial $4 billion investment, which includes adding more instructors. Fred Floss, the acting president of United University Professions, says it's the right place to begin.

"His initiatives I think are good, they're in the right place. The 2,000 additional faculty is a start. We need to make sure those are done through state funds."

Governor Spitzer also said the time has come to create a permanent endowment for higher education.

"The finest private and public colleges and universities in America use the funds from permanent endowment to achieve excellence. If we are to join their ranks, we must do so as well. Higher education funding should no longer be a budgetary pawn, or a yearly battle, it must be a permanent priority."

Spitzer says unlocking money from the New York State Lottery could be a source of funding. Floss says whatever the funding source, he'd like to see some stability.

"If the lottery money is in addition to the funding that SUNY already gets, that's a step in the right direction, but we have to be careful that it's not just a one shot deal."

Floss says if New York doesn't invest in its universities, they won't become the engines of growth that the governor talked about in his State of the State address.

Michael Clifford/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NY