Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett outlined his 2013-2014 budget proposal for the General Assembly this morning, emphasizing plans to invest in education, transportation and human services.
Corbett said he plans to keep funding for state universities level as their presidents pledge to keep tuition costs down. Penn State received $279 million total in state appropriations in its 2012-2013 budget, according to its operating budget posted online. That's equal to the state appropriations in its 2011-2012 budget.
Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre and chair of the Senate Appropriations committee, said the unveiling of Corbett's budget proposal is the beginning of a process. He said he's pleased with the governor's plans to invest in transportation infrastructure and higher education.
"I'm glad he struck a deal with university presidents to continue strong funding for the universities," Corman said. "That's a good thing for students."
Corbett's budget proposal would give more than $1.6 billion to higher education programs, which includes $345 million to the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to provide grants for students who need financial assistance, according to the state Budget in Brief.
This is the second year in a row that funding for Penn State's agricultural research and extension programs will remain level, at $44.7 million, under the governor's budget proposal. When Corbett proposed the current state budget, the funding for Penn State's agricultural research and extension programs remained the same as it had in the 2011-2012 budget.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson will appear at the state House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 25 and at the Senate Appropriations Committee on Feb. 28 to field questions and argue for state funding, according to a press release on Penn State Live.
Corman said the agricultural extension programs are not supported by tuition, and that he would like to increase funding a little bit to make up for rising costs. Corbett said he wants to use potential revenue from the proposed privatization of liquor to invest in basic education.
“Selling liquor is not a core function of government. Education is,” Corbett said.
The sale of Pennsylvania liquor stores would generate $1 billion, according to the Budget in Brief. That would fund $200 million in grants to school districts during the 2014-2015 year, which the districts could use for school safety, Kindergarten through third grade academic programming, customized learning for individual students' needs or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.
Check Wednesday's edition of The Daily Collegian for more details.