Republican Leaders Respond to House Democrats’ Refusal To Invest in Higher Education
HARRISBURG – House Democrats today rejected a plan to increase funding for several of the state’s higher education institutions, and as a result, voted to eliminate funding for several state-related universities, announced House Majority Policy Chairman Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) and House Majority Whip Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). The proposed funding allocation would have represented a 3 percent increase over last year’s funding levels to keep tuition affordable for students, without any new or increased taxes on Pennsylvania residents.

The vote to allocate funding for The Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln University requires a two-thirds vote, and failed to pass the House today with votes along mostly party lines.

“It’s time to stop playing politics with education,” Benninghoff said. “After four years of difficult budgeting, we were finally able to make a responsible increase to higher education without raising taxes. Quite frankly, a ‘no’ vote is unacceptable, and demonstrates a total lack of commitment to affordable education for Pennsylvania residents and the success of future generations.”

The funding package would have provided an $8.4 million increase for Penn State, a $4.22 million increase for the University of Pittsburgh, a $4.2 million increase for Temple University and a nearly $400,000 increase for Lincoln University. The defeated plan also included an additional $840,000 for the University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary School.

“Given that the governor’s tax plan was unanimously defeated, we must live within our current means,” Cutler said. “Schools are planning now for next year and should not be held hostage for a tax increase that has already been defeated.”

The proposed increase to these institutions was part of a budget plan supported by both Senate and House Republican leadership, which includes a total of $800 million in new money for education.

The Republican-endorsed education spending plan also includes a 3 percent increase for community colleges and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), a $10.35 million increase in PHEAA grants for students, $732,000 for Institutional Assistance Grants, $3.39 million in additional funding for Penn State’s Agriculture Research and Extension Program, and an 8.7 percent increase to rural education outreach.

Representative Kerry Benninghoff, Majority Policy Chairman
Representative Bryan Cutler, Majority Whip
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Morgan Wagner
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