Corbett Budget Proposes Deep Cut in Penn State Funding
UPDATE @ 1:37 p.m. Tuesday: Penn State President Graham Spanier is expected to speak at a press conference Wednesday on the state-budget issue. More about the university's reaction to Corbett's budget proposal is posted here.
Earlier report, posted @ 12:25 p.m. Tuesday:
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed budget for 2011-2012 would cut annual state funding for Penn State roughly in half, to $165.1 million, budget documents show.
The reduction would be part of across-the-board cuts in education spending, from basic education to higher education. The University of Pittsburgh -- like Penn State, a state-related university -- would see its state funding fall from $167.9 million this year to $80.2 million next year. Temple, another state-related university, would see its state support drop from $172.7 million to $82.5 million next year.
In his state budget address Tuesday morning in Harrisburg, Corbett called for shared sacrifice as the state faces as a $4 billion budget deficit and runaway spending from prior years. The governor has held fast to a no-tax-increase pledge that he made as a candidate last year.
"We confront an undeniable reality," he said Tuesday. "A nation that once produced wealth beyond calculation has now produced debt beyond reckoning."
He said the state has an obligation "to get things right" and no longer rely "on the quick fix and the easy answer."
"Let's sit down and deal with the present so that we can build the future" in a manner that respects the past, Corbett said.
On higher education, he said state support in recent decades has failed to stop tuition increases. Corbett also called for a "portable education" funding approach wherein "dollars (would) follow the students. It's their money."
Penn State maintains a budget of roughly $4 billion a year. The university had sought state support of about $364 million for 2011-2012.
The governor's proposal is not the final word on state spending, however; a finalized state budget also requires House and Senate support. House and Senate budget hearings are expected in the coming months and will likely include testimony from Penn State President Graham Spanier.
In an interview on PCN, state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Bellefonte, said he thinks "higher education has taken the short end of the stick" in recent years.
It may have gotten the short end again in Corbett's budget proposal, said Corman, who chairs the state Senate Appropriations Committee.
"It's an idea," Corman said of the proposed cuts in higher-education spending. He underscored that universities can make their case during upcoming budget hearings.
StateCollege.com will post additional information as it becomes available.