Senate Passes "UB2020" Economic Development & Academic Growth Plan

Malcolm A. Smith

June 03, 2009

Tens of Thousands of Jobs & Hundreds of Millions in New Investments Expected
(Albany, NY) The New York State Senate late today passed   “UB2020”, major economic development legislation sponsored by Senator William Stachowski (D-Lake View) that will create a groundbreaking pilot program for the University of Buffalo to advance the university’s growth as an academic and research center, and revitalize Western New York’s economy.
In what is seen as the Buffalo region’s most promising economic development initiative, this legislation (S2020) amends the state education, finance, tax, public authorities, and general municipal laws to grant greater regulatory flexibility and autonomy to the University at Buffalo to achieve the goals of the UB2020 vision.
As a   result of this legislation, the University can annually implement differing tuition rates by class year and degree program based on the rates charged by peer institutions, not to exceed one and a half times the percentage increase of the most recently published Higher Education Price Index (HEPI).   They will also have greater control in the areas of procurement, contracting for services, leasing, purchasing and selling of real property, and capital construction.
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said, “When fully implemented, the positive economic impact of UB2020 will mean great things for the Western New York economy. We’re talking about as many as 10,000 long term new jobs, and hundreds of millions pumping into the economy that can be used to attract new businesses and investments across every sector. Senator Stachowski deserves credit for working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as well as the incredible UB leadership, to develop legislation that will help the university and the region grow.”
“Current policies interfere with the way institutions can do business,” said Senator Stachowski.   “Relief from burdensome rules like being prevented from partnering with the private sector would save taxpayers money and keep us competitive with other state systems and public research universities.  For example, by using the methods called for in this bill, we will be able save taxpayers $22 million for construction of a UB-Kaleida Health global vascular research building to be constructed in downtown Buffalo this year.”
Long stalled in the Legislature, Senator Stachowski and the Western New York Senate delegation partnered with the University leadership and local leaders to develop a comprehensive plan that finally allows the University to make their growth plans a reality, and break ground on a number of important development projects.
After enacted, there will be 13,000 new people working and studying in a thriving Academic Health Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; additionally, approximately 2,000 additional faculty, staff, and students will populate the South Campus.   More than 3,000 new graduates are expected annually once UB2020 is achieved.
During the build-out of this project, more than 25,000 new construction and related jobs will be created, according to estimations by the State Department of Budget.
Additionally, approximately 10,000 new long term jobs are expected, as these new facilities and increased stature of the University attract new investments to the region and help keep students in the region post-graduation. Another $650 million in new economic activity for research funding will also be invested   into the region.
The bill was passed 45 to 16.