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July 7, 2005

Vote expected soon on Pitt appropriation

The state legislature could increase Pitt’s educational and general (E&G) appropriations by 2.5 percent to $154.15 million for fiscal year 2006, which began July 1.

As the University Times went to press Wednesday afternoon, the legislature still was deliberating the commonwealth’s budget. Passage of the budget and the non-preferred appropriations (including Pitt’s) is expected soon, according to Paul Supowitz, Pitt associate vice chancellor for Commonwealth and City/County Relations. The 2.5 percent hike for Pitt is in the non-preferred appropriations bill as it now stands, though Supowitz warned the amount could change before the bill is approved.

A 2.5 percent in E&G would be slightly more than the 2 percent increase proposed in Gov. Ed Rendell’s original budget. And it would be a lot less than Pitt’s original request for $166 million, a 10.4 percent increase, in E&G funding from the state.

But it’s a lean year for the state because of soaring costs for medical assistance coupled with decreased federal support, according to Supowitz.

However, there could be some bright spots in the state budget for Pitt. The School of Medicine is expected to receive $2 million more than last year for medical education funding for a total of $6.6 million.

A new funding process called federalization will allow the state to appropriate less for some line item medical education expenditures, with the federal Medicaid program matching the state funds. In addition to the School of Medicine, several other Pitt entities expected to receive funding in FY 2005-06 from federalized medical education funds (included in the Department of Public Welfare budget) included: School of Dental Medicine clinics ($1.037 million); Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC, $7.7 million), and the Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice ($251,000).

These amounts would be the same as last year’s appropriations.

Other University line items in Pitt’s appropriation also are expected to be the same as last year, including:

• Recruitment and retention of disadvantaged students — $423,000.

• Student life initiatives — $416,000.

• WPIC teen suicide prevention program — $500,000.

• Rural education outreach — $1.4 million.

—Mary Ann Thomas

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