Call your congressperson! The SUNY budget is being cut! The four horsemen are galloping to the Geneseo campus, sickles in hand.If the budget cuts go through, students will be systematically "killed" because they can no longer be supported monetarily. Grab your torches and pitchforks; let's get Gov. David Paterson.
The above is, with a few artistic touches on my part, similar to what we Geneseo students have been hearing about the upcoming budget cuts. Now look, I'm not in favor of cutting the SUNY budget. I do understand that it would mean a reduction in what our college is capable of providing us as students. I understand 100 percent the issues that people have with the cuts.
But we might have to take one for the team here.New York State is facing a budget deficit of epic proportions: $10 billion to be exact. The state has been consistently rated as one of the worst for economic climates, which causes lack of growth, brain drain and spending cuts on important social programs. With increasing debt also comes an increasing amount of time needed to pay it off and increasing interest on the debt.
That means that if New York State does not significantly reduce its deficit, the next generation may still be paying it off. Let's look at the numbers for a second. According to the SUNY Web site, last year's SUNY budget was $10.703 billion.
The proposed cut is $90 million from the SUNY system and $62 million from "higher education." So let's add those together and take the more liberal estimate of $152 million from the SUNY system. That is still only a 1.4 percent cut in the budget. Will this affect SUNY schools? Yes. But will the effect be incredibly significant? Probably not. Overall, Paterson's plan to cut the deficit is totaled at $5 billion. Yet the SUNY cut is $152 million, making up only 3 percent of the cuts.
This shows the government's attempt to cut across the board; not making the SUNY budget cuts a major part of the deficit reduction plan. Let's be realistic here. We all have to work together to cut the deficit. After all, $10 billion is a lot of money. If the state does not get the $152 million from the SUNY system, where would it get the funds? Do we cut more into social programs that help to reduce poverty and give people jobs? Do we cut more from the wages of state employees?
Do we cut from subsidies for upstate farmers? Maybe all of the above?The answer is that wherever money is cut from, there will be consequences. The reason we on the Geneseo campus are angry is because they are cutting from us. Do we have a right to be angry? Sure.
But we have to recognize the necessity of limiting the deficit so that our children are not taking on even bigger cuts than we are today. Having a great state school system is fantastic, but when that same state that made our education possible is in trouble, we need to, however begrudgingly, sacrifice for the betterment of everyone in New York State. Or find another way to come up with $152 million. Bake sale, anyone?
Sam White is a freshman political science major who will be selling cookies and brownies at $2 million apiece this Saturday in front of Milne.