Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his plans to reform the budget for the State of New York for the nascent fiscal year.

The state currently faces a $10 billion budget gap. Needless to say, some areas of government spending are going to be re-evaluated. Unfortunately for us, it seems that education is one of the areas Cuomo and his team have targeted to pay that price.

Cuomo, barely in his second month as governor, still has to get his proposal passed by the legislature. But many analysts can already point to another round of budget cuts to the SUNY system. Specifically, SUNY would have to cut their budget by about 10 percent from last year.

This troubles me. It troubles me that in our age of drastic economic deterioration, education is thought to be expendable.

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and the weak economy seriously is hurting our state’s education, on all grade levels.

Still, students today have demonstrated their commitment to achieve in the achingly unstable economic market. The facts on the ground are that jobs are scarce and no one is guaranteed employment. This is unfortunate, but it is the situation we are dealing with.

You don’t need to be the world’s leading economist to know that America has suffered a brutal recession. Daniel Gross, Harvard graduate and editor of Newsweek, explains simply: “In the past decade the private sector hasn’t created a single job. That’s poor, especially when you consider that the population grew 9 percent during those years, from 282 million in 2000 to 308 million today.”

These statistics are brutal. The undeniable relationship between the economy and education so clearly affects our generation. As we’ve seen these past few weeks, as the economy worsens, the money allocated by governments (federal, state and local) to schools has progressively diminished.

The difficulty of finding decent employment in the national job market has become a depressing reality that every college student should be aware of. According to the United States Department of Labor, at the end of last February there were 2.7 million job openings for about 15 million unemployed citizens. That roughly translates into five people vying for every one job. The dreariness of these figures is compounded when we consider the estimated 2.5 million college graduates entering the job market this year.

Want to get even more depressed? The report indicates that in September 2010 there were 1.2 million “discouraged workers,” twice as many as the 503,000 a year earlier. The report explains that “discouraged workers” are “persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them.” America the Great, right?

Many students have taken on internships and employment while still pursuing academic degrees full time. It is common for students and graduates to accept demanding jobs for little or no pay in the hopes that it will “one day lead to something.” Another noteworthy trend is the rise in entrepreneurial initiatives by students seeking creative means to get ahead in a world where it is not uncommon for fortunes to disappear overnight.

As should be clear by now, the intimate relationship between the economy and education is a vicious cycle with no clear end in sight.

I can’t say for certain what it will take to turn our economy around. Still, I can’t see cutting education funding as sustainable in the long term. For the good of the state and SUNY’s sake, the government should acknowledge us as the future leaders and decision makers in America. If we want our economy to bounce back, it would seem to make sense to invest in, not cut back on, sustainable projects directed to the future.

Critics may disagree, but if we are to reverse the current recession, extreme measures may very well be needed. We must control the economy to the best of our ability. Tighter regulations. Stricter supervision. Smarter economics. But until that day, cutting back on education funding and resigning college students to ignominy is not the way to go.