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Governor's budget calls for $46 million for University incentives

In his 2004-05 budget plan, Governor George E. Pataki proposed a flat budget for the State University of New York, even as he called for establishment of a new $1.8 billion SUNY capital plan and the investment of $46 million for the creation a new academic center in downtown Binghamton and a high technology commercialization center at the University.

“We’re very pleased that the SUNY operating budget essentially remains stable and we’re delighted with the proposal for a new SUNY $1.8 billion capital plan,” said Binghamton University President Lois B. DeFleur. “It’s also good news that the governor is including the downtown education center and the High Technology Commercialization Center in his plan.”

Within his proposed $99.8 billion budget, Pataki called for:

* $25 million to be spent to build an academic center in downtown Binghamton to house programs from BU, Broome Community College and Empire State College.

* $21 million to be invested in the creation of a High Technology Commercialization Center, which would capitalize on the University’s strengths by leveraging its experience and partnerships in small-scale systems packaging.

* Restructuring the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) by withholding one-third of the yearly award until after students graduate to give them an incentive to complete their degrees within four years. Pataki has submitted a similar proposal last year, which was rejected by the Legislature.

* A 5 percent cut to the Equal Opportunity Program. “Once again, however, there are two proposals that we will need to vigorously try to change,” DeFleur said. “One is the reduction he’s calling for to the Educational Opportunity Program, and the other is the Tuition Assistance Program restructuring proposal that he has put forward, which is exactly the same as his TAP proposal from last year.”

The budget proposal represents the start of a process that will require Senate and Assembly approval of the final document, a process that could take many months.

The creation of the Phase II high technology commercialization center marks the second phase of the state's strategy to transform New York's economy into the forefront of high technology, Pataki said. By perfecting packaging and manufacturing processes at the micro- and nanoscale levels, the University-based center will ramp up the value of innovations spawned by Phase I Centers of Excellence throughout the state.

The University believes such an expansion can help revitalize the region and add to the diversification of downtown Binghamton.

Plans for the development of the center are in the discussion stages, and a specific timetable or location for the center have yet to be determined. A planning committee to develop and focus the concept of the academic center is being assembled.

The University has received strong support from SUNY, State Senator Thomas Libous and Binghamton Mayor Richard Bucci for development of the center, with a common goal to enhance the quality and vitality of downtown Binghamton.

The University has several offices and services in downtown Binghamton, including the Small Business Development Center, the Center City Coordination Program, the Educational Talent Search Program and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

Current proposals call for the downtown center to include three major clusters of activity: academic programming for degree and certificate programs; independent courses and non-credit continuing education courses; as well as workforce and community development activities.

Development of the facility will require funding for design, construction and renovations and equipment, as well as identification of a site that is environmentally sound and in a safe area.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08