Legislative delegation unites to assist UB 2020

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by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor


Co-leaders of the Western New York Legislative Delegation, State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Tonawanda, have worked with area representatives to ensure that the state’s 2011-12 budget includes policy reforms to assist the University at Buffalo’s 2020 plan. 
Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Co-leaders of the Western New York Legislative Delegation, State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Tonawanda, have worked with area representatives to ensure that the state’s 2011-12 budget includes policy reforms to assist the University at Buffalo’s 2020 plan. Photo by Jim SmerecakPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com The Western New York Legislative Delegation on Friday said it would be submitting a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ensure that the main elements of the University at Buffalo’s 2020 plan be incorporated into the state’s 2011-12 budget.

(See editorial on page four)

State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, who co-leads the WNYLD with Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Tonawanda, said elected officials in the region are working together to make UB 2020 a priority in the state’s budget, expected to be released by Cuomo on Feb. 1.

“Senators and assemblymembers, Republicans and Democrats — this is a common priority that we all share,” he said. “In education, economic development and in areas that we may not be able to predict yet, accomplishing the vision of UB 2020 will position us well for the future.”

UB 2020 is the university’s plan for achieving enduring academic excellence while enlarging the university’s enrollment and also its potential to attract top-flight faculty and researchers.

In the 2010-11 budget, former Gov. David Paterson slashed state funding to the university, which negatively impacted the program. In the past three years, the University at Buffalo has sustained more than $60 million in cuts to its operating budget.

The reforms desired by the WNYLD include:

 Providing UB the ability to implement a rational tuition policy.

 Entering into land-use agreements through public-private partnerships.

 Operating under a new regulatory framework that brings UB to a level that is consistent with the policies of the Association of American Universities. The AAU focuses on national and institutional issues that are important to research-intensive universities, including funding for research, and education policy.

The letter sent to the governor contends that if the reforms are successful, the effect in Western New York could be an influx of 10,000 new jobs, an additional 20,000 construction jobs and a $3 billion annual impact.

“Our first plan of attack is sending this letter to Gov. Cuomo to ensure that he knows exactly how important these policy reforms are to Western New York’s economy and the University at Buffalo’s ability to advance as a world-class research university,” Schimminger said.

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, Clarence, said UB has shown tremendous growth in the past two decades and the reforms noted by the WNYLD will help it to continue being successful.

“We are here today to show that our support is united,” he said. “This is a step in helping the community.”

State Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-West Seneca, Cheektowaga, also said the delegation’s joint effort in increasing funding to UB will create a stronger and more prosperous economic future in Western New York.

“The job growth will begin on and around the campus and then spread throughout the region,” he said. “To the thousands of hardworking Western New Yorkers who believe in this plan, we’ve come together to help us empower the growth of UB.”

Other area delegates who signed the letter, which was submitted to the governor on Friday, included state Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma; Assemblyman James Hayes, R-Amherst; Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, R-Clarence; and Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, D-Cheektowaga, Lancaster.

e-mail: kdepriest@beenews.com

2011-01-19 / Local News

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