As you know, last week Governor Paterson presented his proposed 2009-10 budget and some mid-year 2008-09 budget reductions. The cuts are deep and touch many areas; New York’s community colleges are no exception.
Before I outline the impact of his proposals on MCC, let me take a minute to remind everyone that this is simply the first step in the budget development process. Step Two is the 30-day amendment period—the Governor has 30 days to make changes to his proposed budget. After the amendment period, the New York State Legislature begins its work; if history is our guide, the legislature’s budget may look very different from the Governor’s proposed budget. The final budget is due on April 1, but we all know that that deadline has been missed in the past.
2008-09 Deficit Reduction Plan
New York state base aid funding to community colleges is paid out each quarter. Governor Paterson is proposing that the state's final quarter payment to community colleges (scheduled for March) be reduced by $11 million. The reduction to each community college would be determined based on its tier; larger colleges would see larger deductions.
MCC had expected to receive $39.9 million from New York state this year. This proposed reduction would reduce our funding by a minimum of $2 million this academic year. As you know, we have already started to identify savings in this year’s budget because we anticipated a mid-year cut. With that said, it doesn’t mean we don’t feel the financial pinch.
The Governor is asking the legislature to act on his Deficit Reduction Plan by Feb. 1.
2009-10 Budget Proposal
Governor Paterson’s proposed cuts to community colleges touch two areas:
1. Base aid. Governor Paterson is proposing a 10 percent cut to base aid for community colleges, again, to be distributed based on the size of the institution. Larger colleges, like MCC, would see larger percentage cuts. Our early analysis indicates that this could mean $4+ million less next year than we were originally promised this year.
2. Categorical aid. MCC gets some state aid in certain categories, such as aid to offset the cost of the facilities we rent and aid for high-need, high-cost programs, like health care programs. Earlier this fiscal year, the state cut our categorical aid funding by 6%, costing MCC about $79,000. Governor Paterson is proposing that that cut be carried into next year.
The Governor’s budget proposal does contain some capital funding for the college: $2.19 million for renovations to the Gleason Hall of Science and Technology and $3.8 million for infrastructure upgrades. Both of these projects are part of our master facilities plan.
Again, we do not know what the final outcome will be. This is merely Step One. We will keep you informed as the situation evolves and, after the first of the year, will let you know what you can do to help convince our legislators that community colleges are a key component of our state’s economic recovery.