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February 5, 2004

Rendell recommends 2.25% hike for Pitt

Gov. Ed Rendell has proposed increasing the state subsidies of Pitt and Pennsylvania’s other state-related universities (Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) by 2.25 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Pitt’s appropriation would rise by $3.7 million to just over $167 million.

“What the governor is proposing would be an increase over what we’re scheduled to receive during the current fiscal year, so we appreciate that,” said G. Reynolds Clark, Pitt vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations. “On the other hand, it’s obviously not even close to the amount that we had requested for next year.”

In November, Pitt submitted an appropriation request asking Harrisburg to restore the University’s state funding to the $178.5 million level originally approved for FY 2001-02 before lawmakers imposed a series of budget freezes and cuts.

Pitt also wants an additional $6 million for research infrastructure upgrades next year, similar to lab-improvement funds that Harrisburg previously granted Pitt and later folded into the University’s base budget.

In the FY 2004-05 budget plan that Rendell unveiled on Feb. 2, he recommended a 2.5 percent increase in Pitt’s funding for educational and general (E&G) expenses but flat funding for line items that state lawmakers normally increase by the same percentage as the E&G budget.

A 2.5 percent hike in Pitt’s E&G budget (which currently accounts for $145.6 million of the University’s total $163.4 million appropriation) combined with no increases for the other Pitt line items would work out to an overall 2.25 funding increase.

Clark said Pitt lobbyists don’t know yet why the governor chose to allocate the University’s appropriation the way he did.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will plead Pitt’s case during Feb. 25 hearings of the state House and Senate appropriations committees.

—Bruce Steele

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