To the Editor,
Assemblyman Skoufis has pending legislation (A5098) entitled Tuition-Free NY which would grant free tuition, regardless of income, to all NYS – resident SUNY and CUNY undergraduate students attending two-year and four-year colleges.
I first heard about this legislation at a meeting early last year soon after he proposed this bill. This sounded very enticing at first glance considering: that income is not a factor; the student would just have to perform 25 hours of community service annually; the student would have to work within New York State for a minimum of five years after graduation; and personally having a college-aged child.
I understand Mr. Skoufis’ intent to provide financial relief to debt-ridden college graduates, but I have an issue with the potential cost to all NYS taxpayers. After thoroughly reviewing the SUNY website and based upon the number of eligible SUNY and CUNY students in 2014, Mr. Skoufis’ legislation could cost taxpayers over $3.3 BILLION annually. This amount (which would increase annually), would have to be included in the NYS budget as an expected expenditure. To put this amount in perspective, this amount is more than the year-to-year spending increase for the present 2015/16 NYS budget.
Unfortunately, this is just an another example of our representatives in Albany proposing and passing legislation which results in an overwhelming financial impact on all taxpayers. I would certainly hope that Assemblyman Skoufis, Assemblywoman Jaffee (co-sponsor) and the other supporting legislators would greatly consider the financial impact this legislation would have on all New York State taxpayers.