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Pass SUNY Reform

June 15, 2010

Buffalo News Editorial

As Albany approaches its piecemeal adoption of the 2010-11 state budget, the twin fates of SUNY and the Western New York economy hang in the balance. Prospects for passage of a bill that would give the SUNY system greater independence appear iffy, but that worrisome fact merely calls for supporters to increase their efforts on behalf of the Public Higher Education Empowerment and Innovation Act.

The measure, which would allow campuses to set their own tuition rates and encourage partnerships with private companies, has broad support around the state but runs into a hotbed of opposition in one key constituency: Democrats in the State Assembly.

Opposition is centered downstate, where members say they fear the change will make a SUNY education too expensive for constituents who cannot afford anything but the state's public university system. We doubt that is true, but even if it is a legitimate issue, legitimate issues can have solutions that don't require abandoning an entire reform package.

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