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June 26, 2014

State delay has Pitt budget on hold

Pitt’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 remains on hold while state legislators work to fill budget gaps to finalize Pennsylvania’s spending plan for fiscal year 2015.

The state revenue department reported that fiscal year-to-date general fund collections through May totaled $25.8 billion, which is $532.5 million, or 2 percent, below estimate and a June 16 report from Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office revised its FY14 general fund revenue projections downward by $611 million, to $28.544 billion.

Although the University asked for a 5 percent increase (see Oct. 10, 2013, University Times), in his budget proposal last February Gov. Tom Corbett proposed level funding for Pitt, its fellow state-related universities, State System of Higher Education schools and community colleges as part of his $29.4 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. (See Feb. 6 University Times.)

Because Pitt and its fellow state-related schools are not under complete state control, their support from the state is provided through non-preferred appropriations. House Bill 2335 proposes a FY15 appropriation that reflects flat funding of nearly $134 million for general support and $2.3 million for rural education outreach.

The University’s budget — including tuition and the salary pool — is not finalized until Pitt’s state appropriation is announced.

Funding decisions for non-preferred appropriations are made individually after the state general fund budget is passed. Medical school funding comes through the Department of Public Welfare as part of the general fund budget.

—Kimberly K. Barlow