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February 20, 2003

Another 1% of Pitt's state funds frozen

Gov. Ed Rendell last week ordered a second round of budget cuts that included freezing 1 percent of the state’s appropriations for Pitt and Pennsylvania’s three other state-related universities (Penn State, Temple and Lincoln).

If it becomes permanent, Rendell’s freeze would cut state funding of Pitt by an additional $1.77 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

The latest freeze came two months after then-Gov. Mark Schweiker ordered a similar 1 percent, $1.77 million freeze in Pitt’s appropriation.

Prior to the combined 2 percent in freezes, Pitt’s state appropriation for this year was budgeted to total $176.7 million.

The University absorbed the first 1 percent freeze through reductions in central Pitt funds and did not cut the budgets of any schools, departments or centers, said Robert Hill, Pitt vice chancellor for Public Affairs.

“The second 1 percent reduction was just announced last week, so we’re still determining how we’re going to handle that,” Hill said.

To date, the governor’s office has frozen $390 million in state spending for the current fiscal year. Nearly every state department’s budget has been cut.

In announcing last week’s freezes, Rendell said: “In order to avoid more drastic actions later this fiscal year, the state must act now to bring the 2002-2003 revenue shortfall within its grasp. As the economy continues to contract, I have ordered these spending cuts to bring fiscal stability this year, so we will be in a better position to manage the unprecedented $2 billion deficit we are currently facing in next year’s state budget.”

—Bruce Steele

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