Dear Governor Cuomo,
As a New York resident, taxpayer, and advocate for higher education, I write to strongly encourage you to carefully consider funding for SUNY and CUNY as we navigate these difficult times together. I understand that unprecedented budgetary issues have emerged on the heels of the current pandemic.
Your office has discussed monumental cuts to public higher education as a way to address budget shortfalls. From my perspective, such an approach to addressing the budget will have adverse consequences for years to come.
Public higher education is, in so many ways, the backbone of the state of New York. Our educated workforce is essential for addressing issues such as industry, education, infrastructure, and health. Without our educated workforce, our capacity to deal with the COVID pandemic, as just one example, would be nothing short of disastrous.
The proportion of citizens who hold college degrees is famously lower in the US than in other developed nations, with only about 30% of Americans holding four-year degrees1 compared to nearly 60% in nations such as South Korea and Russia.
This under-education of Americans is not a small problem by any means.
And it is without question that cutting funding for public higher education in New York will only exacerbate this problem. Further, in the long run, funding cuts to public higher education in New York will, without question, take away the American dream from thousands of young New Yorkers in the future.
None of us want that.
Of course, when it comes to budgets, we all must realize that money is a finite resource. We all know that money does not grow on trees. But it does grow in the investment accounts of the many billionaires who lay claim to residency in the Empire State.
Taxing the billionaires fairly would, clearly, have the capacity to help address the fiscal issues necessary to provide appropriate funding for public higher education in our beloved New York. Along with millions of New Yorkers, I would strongly support such an approach. And I appreciate your consideration.
Genuinely and respectfully,
New Paltz, NY
Author note: The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, the State University of New York.
The views represented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Mid Hudson News.