Prisons, a property tax cap, and Medicaid reform figured largely into Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address earlier this month.
But New York's new governor is also taking a careful look at the State University of New York system as he prepares his first executive budget.
Early reports indicate that Cuomo may propose a tuition increase for the state's public universities as he looks to address a budget deficit now projected at close to $11 billion.
Deborah Glick chairs the Assembly's Higher Education Committee. She told reporters last week that she is concerned Cuomo's budget could reduce financial aid for students while not adequately funding the SUNY system. Her colleague in the state Senate, Kenneth LaValle, said the state must invest in SUNY schools - which he called "economic engines."
Enrollment has steadily increased at four-year schools and community colleges - despite flat or reduced state spending.
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said rumors that Cuomo may hike tuition are circulating in Albany, but he hasn't released anything concrete yet.
She says that if Cuomo does present a proposal to increase tuition, it will be looked at seriously.
"Do I like to think that tuition is going to go up? No - I have grandchildren in college and its tough enough for these kids to get a good education," Sayward said. "But there's no money. We're going to have some tough decisions to make. This is just one proposal of his that we're going to see. We're also going to see a smorgasbord of cuts that we'll have to consider."
LaValle says increasing tuition to balance the state's budget is inappropriate, noting that money from past hikes was used outside of the SUNY system.
Sayward says additional revenue gained through a potential tuition hike must go back to the state's public universities.
"I think that in every instance that money is generated for a certain purpose should be committed to that purpose," she said. "Whether it's for colleges, snowmobile trails, or even transportation and infrastructure."
Dr. Carol Brown is president of North Country Community College, which is located in Saranac Lake and has campuses in Malone and Ticonderoga. She says community colleges won't be subjected to tuition hikes, as rates are set by independent boards of trustees.
"In terms of tuition, he was focused on the four-year schools, as their tuition is set by the state Legislature," Brown said. "Our tuition is set by the board of trustees. Having said that, we have to be mindful - and very responsible in anything we do - to remember what it costs for our students to go to school and the needs they have up here."
And while SUNY administrators are concerned about a potential tuition hike, they're also encouraged that Cuomo is aiming to utilize SUNY schools in order to enhance the state's economy.
SUNY will play a large role in the creation of 10 regional economic development councils, which Cuomo hopes will spur job creation throughout the state.
Brown says two and four year schools can play a huge role in turning around a stagnant economy.
"That's what we're known for," she said. "The focus for community colleges has always been to support an infrastructure of economic and workforce development. I think we all recognize these are difficult times. We're all going to be called upon to be creative, reorganize, and reinvent in order to support the state."
Assemblywoman Sayward says it makes sense to give SUNY more responsibility when it comes to economic development, noting that colleges employ people and train students for the workforce.
So far, Cuomo has been quiet about his intentions to raise tuition. His executive budget is due Feb. 1.