Kenneth Lawrence leads Temple’s Office of Government, Community, and Public Affairs and has been working closely with the General Assembly to secure Temple’s appropriation this year. As the semester wraps up, the state budget process is moving more quickly. Below is Lawrence’s view of recent activities in Harrisburg.
What’s the latest on the state budget?
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed Senate Bill 1469 as part of its budget package for the next year. If enacted, SB1469 will restore Temple’s funding to last year’s level. In February, Gov. Corbett proposed cutting Temple’s funding by 30 percent. This is an important step and a great improvement over the proposal due to increased revenues. But it is far from the end of the process.
What are the next steps?
Temple and the other state-related schools are known as “non-preferred appropriations,” which means each school has an individual bill introduced to fund them each year. This bill must receive support from a two-thirds majority of each house in the legislature and be signed by the governor. At this point, we’re really only at the beginning of that process. Our bill still needs to be passed by each house and signed by the governor. All caucuses will need to agree on the final budget.
What can the Temple community do to help?
If you have not already done so, contact your elected officials through the Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network (TALON) and let them know that you support funding for Temple. If you’ve already taken that step, you should encourage your friends and family to take action and stay tuned to TALON for more action alerts. From here out the process could move quickly, so it’s important for those who care about Temple to pay attention and take action when asked to. The Appropriations Committee’s action indicates that we’ve made progress but we’re not out of the woods yet.
If your state senator is on the appropriations committee please call them and thank them for supporting Temple. You can find all the information you need to do so at the TALON website.
When will the budget process be over?
The Pennsylvania Constitution requires that the state budget be completed by June 30. There is no reason to anticipate a delayed commonwealth budget at this time.
For updates on the commonwealth appropriation, follow TUGovtAffairs on Twitter.