UB 2020 Update
The New York State Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation for the UB2020 program earlier this year that will enable SUNY at Buffalo to move forward with their plans once signed into law. The bill, sponsored by freshman Senator Mark Grisanti, received bi-partisan support in the Senate - a rare occurrence in Albany. While the initiative was not in the State's final budget, Governor Cuomo has announced a summit among various leaders in the New York State Legislature to discuss moving it forward. He has also publicly stated that he is supportive of the University's plan.
UB2020 would be a major economic driver in the Western New York region. The plan calls for the hiring of more than 750 new faculty members, the creation of 600 new support staff positions and the acceptance of 10,000 additional students. The plan, when fully enacted could create up to 5,000 jobs and the full economic impact to the region could be higher than $80 million. Research at UB has already resulted in more than 60 new business start-ups since the plan's inception.
The bill passed by the Senate would give SUNY at Buffalo the opportunity to create a tuition policy that is fair, responsible and predictable. It would enable SUNY at Buffalo to use tuition revenue to pursue the UB2020 plan for academic excellence while still protecting students' access to high-quality education, especially for the state's neediest students. The bill also provides flexibility for future capital projects within the campus system by allowing financing to proceed through campus-related not-for-profit organizations. The UB2020 legislation passed by the Senate will not only benefit the faculty, staff and students of the University, but the economy of Western New York as a whole.
Unfortunately, the UB2020 initiative continues to be thwarted by downstate special interests that control the New York State Assembly and have no regard for the economic plight of Western New York. The over 2,500 members of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce must call on the NYS Assembly to adopt the measure, allowing UB to help create a better local economy.