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September 17, 2015

State budget still stalled

Legislators in Harrisburg have yet to agree on a fiscal year 2016 budget, but that’s not holding back the start of the FY17 budget cycle.

The University is preparing its annual request for a state appropriation for FY17, albeit with a few spaces — notably the current state appropriation — left blank, thanks to the FY16 budget impasse.

The University is aiming to meet the typical late September deadline for submitting its annual request for funding to the state Department of Education.

“We’ll complete it to the extent we can,” said Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations. Typically about 75 pages long, the budget request includes a narrative highlighting the University’s accomplishments and goals, demographic data and financial documentation, along with the request itself.

Supowitz has received no word of a delay in the due date, although extensions for submitting the document aren’t uncommon.

The request is a first step in the annual state budget process. After state departments submit their budgets, the governor typically announces his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year on the first Tuesday in February.

House and Senate appropriations committees then hold hearings on the budget during February and March before a budget bill is introduced. Final passage of a new state budget is due before the July 1 start of the fiscal year.

The July 1 deadline for a FY16 budget is long past, due to a lack of agreement in Harrisburg between Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-held General Assembly.

The state Senate returned to session yesterday to advance some stopgap funding for social services, K-12 education and other entities that have been feeling the pinch in the absence of state funding, but a budget agreement appears not to be imminent, Supowitz said.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s been a whole lot of progress,” he said. “Everyone’s frustrated.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow  

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 2

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