Budget mess leaves state-related universities hanging

Written by Radio Pennsylvania | Jul 23, 2017 8:16 AM

Old Main on the campus of Penn State University (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(Harrisburg) -- Funding to five state-related universities--Pitt, Penn State, Temple, Lincoln, and Penn's Vet school--is held up in the four-week old standoff over a revenue package to fund Pennsylvania's budget and some lawmakers are concerned it could cause the schools to raise tuition. 

Senator Vincent Hughes, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says getting new revenue to balance the budget should be simple.

He says the state could raise over $100 million dollars just by closing the Delaware loophole for businesses filing taxes, or it could tax Marcellus shale drilling.

"The independent fiscal office says that if we put a modest 6.5-percent middle-of-the-road severance tax on Marcellus Shale, in 2017 and 2018 we would yield 349-million dollars.  In 2018 and 2019 we would yield 712-million dollars," Hughes said.

The budget gives flat funding to the universities, but without a revenue package, the state can't make payments.

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