WBFO News
10:24 am
Thu June 2, 2011

UB 2020 plan could get boost from economic impact study

Albany, NY – The report by the Rockefeller Institute and the UB Regional Institute was the validation SUNY and UB officials have been looking for.

The study, commissioned by SUNY, found that its 64 campuses statewide pump nearly $20 billion into the state's economy. Spending was tracked during a one year period, from 2008-2009.

The study also said that SUNY is critical to the state's future because it helps produce 21st century technologies and jobs - and trains people to do them.

UB President Satish Tripathi said the report makes a good case for lawmakers to pass UB 2020.

"The UB 2020 plan, the first phase, is going to have job growth, which is economic impact...we're talking about close to 3,000 new jobs created in Western New York," said Tripathi. "Given where we ar based we can do a lot more. That's the economic engagement argument that I think could sell well."

SUNY's eight Western New York schools have about a $3.7 billion impact. Tripathi said nearly two billion of that is from UB.

According to the report, investments in SUNY bring about a five to one return on taxpayer dollars.

However, later the same day, the New York Sate Comptroller's office announced it will conduct a full audit of the SUNY Research Foundation, the private entity that supports SUNY research and programs. Tripathi said it as routine.

"We go through audits all the time. I don't see any problem going through an audit," said Tripathi.

Specifically, the audit will look at controls for hiring, compensation and potential conflicts of interest. Some critics of UB 2020 have raised concerns about the inability to scrutinize the private Foundation's financial dealings, particularly in a broader role under UB 2020. Contribution to salaries, such as Tripathi's also have been questioned. Tripathi said UB is not concerned.

"We follow all the rules and regulations from the state and we will continue to follow that," said Tripathi.

The audit is scheduled to begin the week of June 13.