Upstate News

February 2, 2007
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate says governor’s executive budget allows opportunities for growth

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The following statement was released by SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D.

“Governor Spitzer’s Executive Budget proposal provides SUNY Upstate Medical University with opportunities for continued growth and recognizes our pivotal role in the region as a provider of medical care to all, especially the very needy and very ill, as an engine for research and economic growth and as an educational enterprise training tomorrow’s medical professionals.

“We applaud the governor for presenting a spending plan that provides support from which we can make greater advances in our research mission. It doubles the investment in the SUNY’s Empire Innovation Program that enables us to attract and retain faculty and increases our competitiveness in seeking research grants. The budget includes a $13 million allocation that allows us to move forward with transforming outdated laboratories in Weiskotten Hall into state-of-the-art research space. These investments are vital as we continue the outstanding growth we have made in the area of research over the past year.

“The budget also invests in people and infrastructure by supporting ongoing commitments for collective bargaining packages and operational expenses. This support is indispensable as it allows us to make investments in other areas where additional financial support is needed.

“While we are encouraged by this budget, there are some areas where further discussion of our needs and the community’s needs is appropriate.

“The unintended consequences of the Berger Commission continue, most notably the withholding of the bonding capacity for SUNY’s three hospitals, including University Hospital. This action threatens our ability to move ahead with construction of a much-needed cancer center. This center holds the promise of enhanced cancer care, especially for Central New Yorkers, and is an investment in creating greater efficiencies in our delivery of cancer services.

“In addition, we need to take strong action to ensure that SUNY Upstate’s research growth remains strong and that Central New York becomes an even greater draw for world-class researchers. The synergy among area universities is growing and greater research advancements are on the horizon. For that to happen additional allocation for building, expanding and growing our research infrastructure is needed. This is not simply an investment in SUNY Upstate, but an investment in New York.

“The governor’s budget plan provides an appropriate framework in which to make some significant strides in all areas of our mission. As we move through the budget process, we look forward to working with Governor Spitzer, our SUNY colleagues, the Legislature, and especially our local legislative delegation.”

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