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Loss of funding at Upstate would create a hole both in our economy and the community

— The more good-paying jobs there are in our area, the better our local economy performs. This is one of the reasons I recently wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to restore funding to SUNY Upstate Medical University.

In his 2013-14 executive budget proposal, Cuomo proposed cutting $28 million from an $87.8 million subsidy to the state’s three teaching hospitals. This cut would mean a loss of $9.3 million to Upstate Medical as well as countless job losses, which could have lasting and devastating effects on our economy and our families.

Upstate Medical is one of Central New York’s largest employers, employing over 8,000 people. The university is the region’s only public academic medical center which enables local students aspiring to be a doctor a world class education at an affordable price. All told Upstate Medical pumps $2.3 billion into the Central New York economy. Cutting the university’s funding, for the second consecutive year, would have an adverse effect on our local economy that we simply cannot afford.  

The Upstate Medical University is not only a job producer for our region, but it also serves the health care needs of more than 1.8 million people in our area, with a reach that expands from the boarder of Canada to the board of Pennsylvania. Further, it is a hub for world-class medical research, especially innovative cures for cancer. Upstate Medical puts Central New York on the map in terms of medical care and research. It would be a shame if that disappeared due to lack of funding.

Not only does Upstate Medical serve the community’s medical needs, but it also provides a number of services that are vital to many families in our area. The employees and students of the university mentor local elementary students in science and involve themselves in dozens of community services aimed at creating a better life for our families.

I am urging Governor Cuomo to reconsider the funding cuts to SUNY Upstate Medical University. This loss of funding will create a hole in our local economy and in our community that will not be easily filled. Central New York relies on Upstate Medical and it needs all the support we can give it.

Al Stirpe represents the 127th Assembly District. He can be reached at 452-1115 or stirpea@assembly.ny.us.

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