Wolf signs delayed state funding for universities
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf Friday signed a $600 million appropriation for state-related universities, but has not indicated whether he will sign the package of revenue bills the legislature finalized Thursday that completed the budget after a four-month stalemate.
HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania's state-related universities will receive nearly $600 million in funding after Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday signed bills approving the spending.
Funding for the schools — the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Temple and Lincoln universities, as well as the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary school — had been delayed amid a four-month long budget stalemate that appears to have broken this week. Some schools warned of mid-year tuition hikes or the possibility of erasing discounts for in-state students if the funding did not come through.
"Our flagship higher education institutions should never again be held hostage in the General Assembly's budget process," Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement. "These are high-impact and invaluable assets for our commonwealth's students and economy. Our state investment helps keep these world-class universities affordable for state students."
House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) has asked the schools to promise not to increase their tuition next school year, now that they have state funding.
Legislators had struggled for nearly four months to balance the budget and close a $2 billion deficit. They approved in late June a nearly $32 billion spending plan but no way to pay for it.
This week, they approved a revenue package that relies on borrowing against the state's landmark settlement with tobacco companies, taxing more goods sold online and expanding gambling in the state. The bills to enact that package are awaiting approval from Wolf, who could choose to sign them, veto them or allow them to lapse into law without his signature.