One day after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted not to release appropriations for state-related schools, Penn State officials said the university is definitely feeling the impact.
On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted down releasing funding for each of the four state-related schools by a 95-97 vote.
Penn State is one of those four state-related schools and is currently $150 million short of its state appropriations for this fiscal year, Penn State spokeswomen Lisa Powers said.
The university was given a $350 million appropriation this year and is supposed to receive one-twelfth of that money each month, she said.
Powers said the university has taken several measures to make up for a loss in funding, including freezing salaries, reducing operating budgets, scaling back plans for capital projects and leaving positions unfilled.
"We've taken a lot of risks with our students in mind," Powers said. "It certainly makes it difficult to plan for the future without knowing what your funding situation is."
Capital improvement projects -- like construction projects -- could be delayed long-term if money set aside for these projects has to be used to meet regular operating costs, she said.
The university has already had to dip into its reserves and is losing interest that could be earned on these accounts.
"We've done everything at this point to keep operating as usual," Powers said.
Local representatives said they want the appropriations for state-related schools to be released as well.
"We're very frustrated with the process that has been holding our schools hostage," said Tor Michaels, chief of staff for Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre.
Conklin voted for the release of state funding for state-related schools, Michaels said, adding that he also supports the table game legislation.
"It is the only revenue-enhancement that the Republican-controlled Senate will agree to," Michaels said.
Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said he supports the release of state funds, but does not see the need for table games legislation. Legislators have argued that the state wouldn't have a balanced budget without the game revenue. The discussion on table games was postponed Thursday, and Benninghoff said it should resume next week.
"I'm just lost for words for why they would have voted [the release of state-funding] down. We do not have to pass gambling to be able to fund those appropriations," Benninghoff said.
A table game bill would require casinos acquiring table games to pay a one-time $16.5 million licensing fee, and the state would receive 16 percent of the revenue from the games, said Gary Tuma, press secretary for Gov. Ed Rendell. The table games bill could bring in $249 million for the state, he said.
Tuma said it's against Pennsylvania's constitution to provide funding when there is not approved funding sources to balance the budget.
"We simply could not release that money under the constitution and create an unbalanced budget in the process, so we would have to come up with some new plan," Tuma said.
Michaels said once the table games discussion is over, the House will once again vote whether to release funding for state-related schools.
Collegian staff writer Evan Trowbridge contributed to this article