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October 1, 2015

Stalemate doesn’t stop FY17 budget cycle

Despite the current budget stalemate in Harrisburg, the University is preparing to submit its state appropriation request for the upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget cycle.

Pitt is finalizing its annual appropriation request to the state with plans to send the document to the Department of Education early next week, Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for community and governmental relations, told the University Times.

Pitt received a short extension for submitting the document, which typically is due in late September, he said. Despite the additional time, the budget request is being submitted with no FY16 budget numbers, thanks to the ongoing state budget impasse.

The Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf remain at odds in Harrisburg, unable to agree on a state budget for fiscal year 2016, which began July 1.

As expected, Wolf earlier this week rejected an $11 billion Republican-sponsored stopgap budget proposal, branding it an “avoidance maneuver.” In his Sept. 29 veto, Wolf urged the legislature to return to the bargaining table to pass a balanced budget rather than the temporary bill that “fails to provide the long-term investment in Pennsylvania’s future that this commonwealth needs.”

Arthur G. Ramicone, Pitt senior vice chancellor, chief financial officer and interim executive vice chancellor, told the University Times that the impasse has held up the University’s state appropriation of about $11 million a month, along with tobacco settlement funds for health-related programs, and other state grant monies.

Pitt also hasn’t seen approximately $10 million in PHEAA grant money that typically would have been received at the start of the fall term. The University has fronted the funds that students expected to receive, but it won’t be reimbursed until the budget is settled, Ramicone said.

The University’s own budget can’t be finalized until its appropriation is set, putting the prospect of raises for Pitt employees on hold and stalling plans for other initiatives, Ramicone said. “We are attempting to make certain investments that will enhance the region — in economic development and commercialization — and until we know whether those additional monies are forthcoming or not, all of those initiatives are marching in place.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow     

Filed under: Feature,Volume 48 Issue 3

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