House Falls Short of Needed Support to Fund State-Related Universities

HARRISBURG – On Monday the House voted on the five non-preferred appropriation bills that would fund Penn State, University of Pittsburgh, Temple, Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.

These pieces of legislation represented a 5 percent increase for each of the schools, with the exception of Lincoln University, which would have seen a 7 percent increase.

Unlike other pieces of legislation, these non-preferred appropriation bills require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.  Despite a strong bi-partisan vote in the Senate, these pieces of legislation did not meet the required two-thirds threshold.

After the vote Rep. William Adolph Jr. (R-Delaware) had this to say:

“I am very disappointed to see that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have joined Gov. Tom Wolf in opposing this needed funding for our state-related universities.  Our students should not be held hostage during this budget impasse.  This 5 percent increase was agreed to by the governor in November and received a vote of 48-2 in the Senate.”

“Let me be very clear — there are available current year revenues to pay for all five of these appropriations.  The vote by House Democrats was a vote to use our students as unnecessary leverage in an effort to raise taxes.”

The governor certified available revenues for FY 2015-16 at $29.82 billion.  By blue-lining House Bill 1460 to a spend number of $23.4 billion, the governor left $6.3 billion of available funds on the table.  The total cost of all five non-preferred appropriation bills is approximately $578 million.

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