Senate may add education funding to Pa. budget

    The next vote on Pennsylvania’s state budget will take place in the Senate, and the head of the chamber’s Appropriations Committee says he’s looking to increase funding for higher education.

    The budget passed by the House this week increases college and university funding by $377 million over Gov. Tom Corbett’s initial spending plan. It reduces State System of Higher Education cuts to 15 percent, with state-related schools seeing a 25 percent cut, compared with current funding.

    Republican Jake Corman, whose district includes State College, said his chamber might give the schools even more money, when it amends the House spending plan. “I think the House showed a strong commitment toward higher education. We’d like to make it even a little better, if we possibly could, and show some parity between the State System and the state-related universities. But we’ll review that to see where monies are available to do just that,” he said.

    Corman also said the Senate isn’t tied to a $27.3 billion budget, and could increase its spending level. “We’re certainly not locked into any number,” he explained. “We could go lower, we could go higher. But we’ll review their budget, and review the priorities of the Senate, to see what changes–obviously there will be some–that we’d like to make, and then put something together that makes sense for the people of Pennsylvania.”

    Both Corbett and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai have vowed not to spend more than $27.3 billion.

    Corman is hoping for a Senate budget vote by mid-June, and said Senate Republicans are committed to finishing the process by July 1. “The people of Pennsylvania have been put through enough over the last eight years of having late budgets,” he said. “We’re ahead of schedule and hope to continue that way.”

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