Hurray for New York!
Hurray for New York! Last night legislators agreed to reject Governor Patatki's call to hike tuition at CUNY and SUNY by $300-$500 and to spare cuts to Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP has been a state success for access to higher education lauded over an over again. Hurray for some vision!
Majority Leader Bruno and Speaker Silver have come together to support higher education in New York in an encouraging step for us all. We congratulate them. However, the legislators were not negotiating in a vacuum. In fact, a great many groups and advocates joined forces on this issue. New York Public Interest Research Group, Hunter Student Government, Welfare Rights Initiative, the administration of City University of New York and State University of New York to name just a fewof the groups. We joined with unions and business and students and parents to advocate strongly for higher education since the legislative session began.
Numerous calls and trips to Albany were made to give legislators guidance on where higher education policy needs to be going and clearly we were heard. Very often, the policymaking process is adversarial. The Senate says it wants to support business via huge tax breaks and the Assembly wants to eliminate sales tax for poor, low and middle income families. It seems that our representatives are not working together in the way that advocates and students groups from upstate and downstate do.
I am hopeful that the budget and policy making process in New York can step up to the level of democracy that legislative advocacy so often demonstrates in this state. For now, hurray for all our sides, higher education is a value in New York State!