New budget proposal prioritizes education
This week, an alternative budget proposal that restores $580 million to basic and higher education funding was introduced and approved by the House Appropriations Committee. The budget plan would maintain the governor's proposed spending number of $27.3 billion and contains no tax increases.
Under the proposal, K-12 education would receive $210 million in additional funding as compared to the governor's budget. This amount includes $100 million for Accountability Block Grants. Higher education would also benefit under the House Republican plan, with $387 million in additional funding. This amount does not restore all the reductions proposed by Gov. Tom Corbett, but the SSHE cut would be 15 percent as opposed to 54 percent; and state-related universities would receive 25 percent less than last year, as opposed to 51 percent.
One hundred and ninety five million in funding would go to the 14 state-owned universities in the State System of Higher Education.
$180 million would go to state-related universities: Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln. The plan also relies on a 4 percent funding cut to the proposed Department of Public Welfare (DPW) budget -$471 million - equal to the amount of fraud and waste in DPW, according to Auditor General Jack Wagner.