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January 7, 2010

Long wait for appropriation ends

It’s official: Pitt’s fiscal year 2010 state appropriation was signed by Gov. Edward G. Rendell Dec. 17, 168 days after the July 1 start of the fiscal year.

The appropriation includes nearly $168 million in FY10 general support for Pitt: $160.49 million from the state’s general fund plus $7.5 million in federal stimulus money.

Also included in the appropriation bill signed by the governor was $8.64 million in federal stimulus money for FY09.

Pitt’s total FY10 appropriation is $185.4 million, including approximately $17.4 million in funding for University medical line items included in the Department of Public Welfare budget, which passed in October as part of the state budget. Those line items are funded through state and matching federal dollars.

The University’s Board of Trustees budget committee on Dec. 15 unanimously passed a $1.733 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2010, contingent upon the governor’s approval of the expected $185.4 million state appropriation. (See

Trustees also approved a capital budget of $179.16 million, which includes $86.2 million from the state. (See related story this issue.)

Typically, Pitt receives its state appropriation in monthly increments; no payments have been received since the new fiscal year started July 1.

Vice Chancellor for Budget and Controller Arthur J. Ramicone estimated the impact on Pitt as “in the six figures,” and told the University Tmes on Tuesday that Pitt is still waiting to receive the approved FY10 funds. Ramicone said the money — including what would have been received since the July 1 start of the fiscal year — is expected to arrive this month.

Pitt’s appropriation had been delayed because the legislature couldn’t reach an agreement on table games legislation, which Rendell insisted was needed to balance the state budget.

The Senate unanimously passed Pitt’s appropriation bill in October, but the measure didn’t reach the governor’s desk until it was approved in the House Dec. 14. Had the governor not acted, the bill would have taken effect in 10 days.

The same day Rendell signed bills for the state-related universities and other non-preferred appropriations, he sent a letter to legislative leaders warning of at least 1,000 state job furloughs if a table games agreement isn’t reached. “Unless I receive legislation on my desk that I can sign by January 8, 2010, I will be forced to place an additional $250 million into budgetary reserve,” he stated.

The Senate approved a table games measure Jan. 5. A vote was expected in the House Jan. 6 as the University Times went to press.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 42 Issue 9

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