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October 13, 2011

Pitt asks for 16.3% hike in state appropriation

The University’s appropriation request for fiscal year 2013 reflects an effort to see $40 million in funding that was cut in the current state budget restored over the next two years, administrators say.

In its annual request, filed with the state Department of Education Sept. 29, Pitt is seeking an increase of $23.6 million, a 16.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year state funding.

The $168.1 million request includes nearly $151.5 million in general support, an increase of 11.3 percent. At that level of state support, the University is projecting a 3 percent increase in salaries and wages and a 4 percent increase in tuition and fees.

Pitt also is seeking nearly $8.12 million in funding for the medical school; $7.13 million for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC); $955,000 for the dental clinic, and $370,000 for the Center for Public Health Practice, all of which saw their state support nearly halved in the current fiscal year budget. Funding for the medical school and the WPIC, dental clinic and public health programs comes through the state Department of Public Welfare budget.

Given the uncertain economic times, “It’s hard to say if it’s realistic,” said Paul A. Supowitz, vice chancellor for Governmental Relations. “We have no real conception of what the economic environment will be,” he said. “It’s true more this year than ever.”

The annual budget request is the first step in the state budget process. The governor presents a proposed budget each February;then, after hearings before the Senate and House of Representatives appropriations committees, legislators work out a final budget, due by the June 30 fiscal year end.

Although Gov. Tom Corbett proposed harsher cuts (see March 17 University Times) in the FY12 state budget, the legislature settled on trimming Pitt’s appropriation 21.7 percent overall, a decrease of more than $40 million.

Included in the reduction were a $31.9 million cut in general support, to $136.1 million; a $4 million cut to the School of Medicine to $4.1 million, and cuts of $3.5 million in support for WPIC to $3.6 million; $471,000 for the dental clinic, to $484,000, and $182,000 for the Center for Public Health Practice, to $188,000.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 44 Issue 4

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