UB 2020 Top Priority For WNY Delegation

January 14, 2011 Updated Jan 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 14, 2011 Updated Jan 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM EDT

( release ) The Western New York Legislative Delegation has made the University at Buffalo’s 2020 strategic plan for excellence and growth a top priority for 2011, reaffirming its belief that UB’s future and Western New York’s future are closely linked.

Today the delegation spoke with one voice in demonstrating its unified feelings about UB 2020. The bipartisan group of senators and assemblymembers announced they are sending a joint letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking that the chief elements of the UB 2020 plan be incorporated into the executive budget proposal for the 2011-2012 state fiscal year, which is expected to be released on February 1, 2011. A copy of the letter is attached.

“As you prepare your executive budget in the coming weeks,” the legislators write, “we strongly urge you to include the public policy reforms that will enable UB 2020 to move forward. We cannot stress strongly enough that UB 2020 is a top regional priority.”

The desired reforms include giving UB the ability to implement a rational tuition policy, enter into land use agreements through public-private partnerships, and operate under a new regulatory framework. The University at Buffalo contends that the result, if successful, could translate into 10,000 new jobs, 20,000 construction jobs, and a $3 billion annual impact in Western New York.

Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) said, “We are working together as a delegation to bring UB 2020 to fruition. Senators and assemblymembers, Republicans and Democrats—this is a common priority that we all share. In education, in economic development, and in areas that we may not be able to predict yet, accomplishing the vision of UB 2020 will position us well for the future.”

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Tonawanda) said, “The W.N.Y. Delegation is in agreement that one of our top priorities this legislative session is to see action on UB2020. Our first plan of attack is sending this letter to Governor Cuomo to ensure that he knows exactly how important these policy reforms are to Western New York’s economy and the University at Buffalo’s ability to advance as a world-class research university.”

Assemblyman John Ceretto (R-Lewiston) said, “UB is the foremost research university in our region and we need to support its growth, which will mean jobs and opportunities for tomorrow. I’m happy to be working with everyone to hit the ground running in the 2011 session and accomplish this major goal.”

Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-C-I, Clarence) said, “I am eager to begin working with my colleagues in the Western New York Delegation to ensure the passage of UB2020. The University of Buffalo is a vital economic development driver in our region, and this legislation is a means for providing it with the flexibility to offer a premier class of higher education.”

Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga) said, “UB2020 will lay the foundation for economic and educational prosperity for years to come. It will jumpstart the revitalization of Downtown Buffalo and Western New York by creating jobs and attracting new business and new people to our region. UB2020 is an investment in our future and I will work tirelessly with my colleagues from the W.N.Y Delegation to see UB2020 come to fruition.”

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) said, “UB2020 is the most promising economic development initiative for Western New York in generations. Through enactment of this legislation, SUNY at Buffalo will have the tools necessary to implement its bold vision - a vision that invests in our region’s students, its neighborhoods, its infrastructure and its future. I hope Governor Cuomo is sincere in his commitment to the economic future of Western New York and look forward to his commitment to UB2020 and the SUNY Empowerment Act.”

Senator Mark Grisanti (R, Buffalo) said, “I am happy to be standing with my Senate and Assembly colleagues today to urge Governor Cuomo to help UB become the world-class university and economic driver for Western New York that it has the potential to be. I know the Governor supports UB 2020 and I hope he will demonstrate that support in his executive budget proposal.”

Assemblyman James Hayes (R-Amherst), “There is no other measure as important for the people of Western New York as UB2020 - and all that it means for jobs and economic growth in a region that has been devastated by state policies that have for a generation driven away businesses and families. UB2020 will not only make the University a more competitive and distinguished institution, but it will also generate thousands of jobs in our region and - in these tough times - tax revenues to support the services of state and local governments. UB2020 will provide a true stimulus as we work to continue the transformation of Western New York into a hub of innovation and economic activity.”

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo) said, “I am confident that Governor Cuomo is well aware of the importance of UB2020 to the WNY community. This letter will simply reinforce the fact that the members of the State Legislative Delegation are working in a bi-partisan manner in our efforts make UB2020 a reality.”

Senator Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) said, “Western New York is united behind UB 2020. With one strong voice, we – Democrats and Republicans, Senators and Assemblymembers – are launching our renewed push for a stronger and more prosperous economic future in Western New York, starting with UB 2020. The job growth will begin on and around the campus and then spread throughout the region. To the thousands of hardworking Western New Yorkers who believe in this plan, we've come together to tell you that we will do everything in our power to make UB 2020 a reality. To Governor Cuomo, please help us empower the growth of UB and SUNY and include the necessary policy reforms in your executive budget proposal.”

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) said, "The UB2020 plan is the perfect opportunity to invest in infrastructure and development projects that allow the creation of jobs, boost the local economy, and attract high quality professionals and business leaders integral to positive growth with minimal fiscal impact to the state. The Western New York delegation and I are united in the vision of the University at Buffalo continuing to grow as a great public research institution that would not only expand our knowledge base but also help redevelop a long neglected community located in the 141st Assembly District."

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I, Amherst) said, "I stood in this very room, in the Center for Tomorrow, when I announced my candidacy for the State Senate two years ago because of the important role the University at Buffalo plays in the community and now it stands in the heart of my Senate District. Without UB 2020 legislation, our community will not be able to discover the enormous impact UB can have for the entire region. It's a plan that will boost our region's economy, create jobs and empower the University at Buffalo to serve as a model for the next generation of research universities and for our children and grandchildren to compete in a 21st century global economy right here in Western New York. I urge Governor Cuomo to include key elements of our legislation in his executive budget proposal.”

Assemblyman Mark Schroeder (D-Buffalo) said, “Our region is trying to recover from decades of economic decline by building a new economy based on education, innovation and technology. The passage of UB2020 is essential if we are going to be able to achieve that goal. The University at Buffalo must be given the tools to be a driving force behind the cultivation of a cutting-edge economy.”

Assemblyman Kevin Smardz (R-Hamburg) said, “Allowing the University at Buffalo the autonomy and flexibility it needs to provide our students an education on par with the best and brightest in the country is simply too important to ignore. The most ambitious and innovative growth plan Western New York has seen in decades, its potential to create jobs and drive our local economy makes UB2020 the catalyst we as a region have been searching for. Its passage is long overdue.”

Senator Catharine Young (R-C-I, Olean) said, “There is no more urgent need in Western New York then regrowing the economy and private sector jobs. The UB2020 plan is crucial in getting people back to work and having career opportunities. We need to get results.”