By SUSAN JONES
Soon, the state budgeting process will kick into high gear in Harrisburg.
Traditionally, the governor submits his budget proposal in February. Soon after, Pitt, along with other state-related universities, will make their pitches to the General Assembly for funding in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
PITT DAY IN HARRISBURG
Faculty, staff and students can add their voices to the state budget request during Pitt Day in Harrisburg on March 17. Participants meet with elected officials to discuss some of Pitt’s accomplishments and urge legislators to make Pitt a budget priority.
Buses depart the Oakland campus at 7 a.m. and leave Harrisburg for the return trip at 4:45 p.m. Separate groups also will be traveling from the regional campuses. Find information to register here.
The event is hosted by Pitt Advocates, the Pitt Alumni Association, and the Office of Community and Governmental Relations.
In documents submitted in the fall, Pitt requested an increase of 5.5 percent, from $178 million for 2019-20 to $187.9 million for 2020-21. This amount includes Pitt’s general appropriation and medical funding via the Department of Human Services. The University now receives less than 8 percent of its overall budget from the state versus the more than 30 percent it received in the mid-1970s, according to the budget request sent to the state.
Last year, the University requested a 6 percent increase, while the governor proposed flat funding. The budget that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in June 2019 included a 2 percent increase for Pitt and the other state-related universities.
If a funding increase for 2020-21 is approved, it would be the third year in a row for higher appropriations from the state.
Penn State, one of the three other state-related universities, has requested a 6 percent increase from the state for 2020-21.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and the leaders of the other state-related universities — Penn State, Temple and Lincoln, will appear before the state House and Senate on March 3 to discuss their budget proposals.
In a report released in November, the Independent Fiscal Office, a state agency that analyzes economic and budgetary data for the General Assembly, predicted that the state would face deficits of $926 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year and $959 million for 2021-22. This would be nearly double the shortfall predicted for 2019-20, and could lead to some of the protracted fighting over the budget that took place in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first two terms.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-648-4294.
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