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Penn State Urges Legislators to Pass Funding Bill

by on October 05, 2017 5:00 AM

Penn State issued another statement on the ongoing Pennsylvania state budget impasse Wednesday night, urging the state House of Representatives to “pass the university’s funding bill and send it on to Governor Tom Wolf to ‘at least provide us with some assurance that we will be funded this year.'”

The state budget is scheduled to pass every year before the new fiscal year begins on July 1. While it's not uncommon for legislators to miss the deadline, an impasse lasting this long can have drastic effects for state-related institutions like Penn State, which depend on the state budget for appropriations funding.

“The absence of an appropriation would result in a direct impact on our students and their families, since these funds are used to keep tuition lower for Pennsylvania students,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in the statement. “Without this critical funding from the Commonwealth, we will be unable to run our extension programs that impact Pennsylvanians in all 67 counties. This would be a devastating outcome, but we remain hopeful that our state legislators can come together in support of Penn State, which creates more than $17 billion in economic impact for the state and educates tens of thousands of students annually.”

The current proposed budget includes flat funding of $230.4 million for Penn State’s general support appropriation, which funds the overall operations of the university and makes possible the in-state tuition rate

In the past few weeks, Barron has published an op-ed alongside Pitt’s chancellorand penned a letter to the Penn State community urging individuals to contact their legislators about passing Penn State’s funding bill. The new statement says Penn State received news from Harrisburg on Wednesday that the budget impasse continues, “as elected leaders continue to fail to come to an agreement on the fiscal plan.”

The House and Senate passed, and Gov. Tom Wolf approved, a general state spending bill in July, but did not pass a revenue bill or non-preferred appropriations, which include Penn State funding.

On Wednesday, Wolf said he will act on his own to balance the budget, including borrowing against future payments from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. But that still provides no answer for the institutions, including Penn State, that weren't funded to begin with for the current fiscal year.

 



Elissa Hill is an associate editor for Onward State.
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