The ranking Republican in the state Senate Appropriations Committee came out against Gov. Tom… The ranking Republican in the state Senate Appropriations Committee came out against Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 30 percent cuts to three state-related universities on Monday.
Senator Jake Corman, a Republican whose district in central Pennsylvania includes Centre County, home to Penn State University’s main campus, said that after a decade of decreased state funding and last year’s 19 percent funding cut, the state-related universities should be spared further cuts.
“I’m going to do my best to not have any cuts this year,” he said.
Corman maintained that the funding the state gives to state-related universities is “modest” compared to the positive economic force the institutions bring to the state.
“My district has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and that’s fueled by Penn State,” he said, pointing to the jobs that the university creates both directly and indirectly.
Corman said that the same could be applied to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, home to Pitt and Temple, the other two state-related universities facing cuts.
“They all have tremendous economic impacts on the area they serve,” he said. “You can’t put a figure on that.”
In addition to direct job creation, Corman said the universities have a positive effect on the state by giving Pennsylvania residents access to higher education. He also said that surrounding businesses profit from the presence of the universities.
While Corman said that he would try to reverse any further cuts to higher education, he wasn’t ready to point to another area of the state budget he would cut further. But he did say that he is opposed to raising current taxes or enacting any new ones.
Corman did not have any timetable for when he or the Senate Republicans would release their own budget proposal.
Members of Pitt’s administration are scheduled to meet with the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday for a hearing regarding the University’s state funding cut.
Last year, Corbett initially asked for a 50 percent funding cut to the state-related universities, while House Republicans proposed a budget that would have cut funding 25 percent and the Senate proposed a 15 percent cut. The state ultimately passed a 19 percent cut in its final budget in June.