Governor Tom Wolfe quietly diverts $ 40 million to Pitt, another state-related university in Pennsylvania – Wake-up call

Spotlight PA Is an independent, nonpartisan newsroom run by The Philadelphia Inquirer in partnership with PennLive / The Patriot-News, TribLIVE / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and WITF Public Media. Sign up for our free newsletter..

Harrisburg-Governor Tom Wolfe temporarily uses a stimulus to four state-related universities in Pennsylvania, including Pennsylvania State University and Pitt, with the only power he directs, to 40 million. We are planning to give a quiet boost to the dollar.

The move follows the failure of opponents of access to abortion at the State Capitol in an attempt to block Pitt’s school funding. Research using fetal tissue..

Pitt, Pennsylvania State University, Lincoln University, and Temple University receive annual taxpayer dollars to subsidize tuition fees in the state. The legislature did not increase the formal budget for the university. Part of this year’s budget..

Instead, Wolf is planning to direct the school to a one-time 5% increase, using the incentives Congress voted to give him this summer. The funding bill only states that it is for a “pandemic response.”

The governor press release He did not advertise his education funding as “legacy” or publicly disclose it elsewhere.It was pointed out in Budget overview Released by State Congressman Democratic Party.

Wolf spokesman Elizabeth Rementor confirmed the plan by email. This is in line with what the Democratic Governor proposed in him. February budget address..

“I support supporting state universities,” Wolff told reporters in June. “I want to find a way to do that.”

In an email, a top legislative Republican spokesperson faced backlash from rank-and-file Republicans and anti-abortion activists to fund the pits, but provided additional funding to the school. He said he knew or wasn’t surprised at Wolf’s movements.

“There was a verbal understanding that the money would go to them,” Erika Clayton Wright, a Republican spokesman for the State Senate, said in an email.

“This was a long-standing priority for his office,” said Jason Gottesman, a Republican spokesman for state legislature, when Wolff chose to use the money to increase state-related money. Given that, “he said in an email.

Both emphasized that funding is considered a temporary increase.

R-Schuylkill’s state legislator, Jerry Knowles, led efforts to block pit funding, arguing that the institution conducting fetal tissue studies, which he called “barbaric,” was not worthy of funding.

Such studies use tissue from an aborted fetus, whether it is a selective abortion or a miscarriage.

According to Pitt, university scientists Have “We used fetal tissue to better understand the efficacy and safety of certain treatments for HIV, AIDS, and cancer.” The study is funded by a federal grant.

Knowles was dissatisfied with the school’s regular budget, despite the failure of his efforts to ban the study of fetal tissue. He compared the extra money from Wolf to “poke someone with his eyes.”

“Pitt is probably laughing at us now on their ass because they got the money,” Knowles said. “All Haifa Rutin lobbyists roamed the building, they were drumming to make money, and they got their money. So they probably laughed at me,” Well, We got them. ” “

For the past few years, funding state-related universities has been a proforma vote that has caused little controversy in the legislature. However, since 2019, some Republicans have begun trying to prevent the diversion of pits, using issues from supporters of anti-abortionists.

Anti-abortion activists claim that Pitt violates state and federal law, and medical ethics in these studies, report The entrustment from the university turned out to be untrue.

Republicans shortly before the June 30 budget deadline Added fix successfully A college funding bill banning Pitt from conducting fetal tissue research.

Parliamentarians are not only concerned about the study, but also the mission of former Pitt Prime Minister Mark Nordenberg as chairman of the state constituency change committee that mapped the state capitol, which is likely to reduce the majority of Republicans. Was motivated by the general frustration of higher education.

When the deadline came, the House of Representatives took a different approach, advancing a clean version of the bill to fund universities and adding research bans to unrelated broadband laws.

Wolf has signed a clean funding bill, and other laws are stuck in the state legislature.

Wright, a Republican spokesman for the State Senate, said the proposed research ban should be dealt with outside the budget process so as not to hostage student tuition discounts. She did not answer a specific question as to whether the Senate would proceed with the amended bill.

In a statement, Pitt’s spokesperson said the university was “thankful” for Wolff and Congress’ support and “looks forward to continuing to engage with lawmakers on the importance of higher education for the future of Pennsylvania.” Said.

$ 40 million for state-related colleges comes from a federal dollar pot under Wolff’s direct control.

Last order

every day

Get top headlines from wake-up calls delivered on weekday afternoons.

Since 2021, the Republican-controlled General Assembly has provided Wolf with $ 421 million in “pandemic response” funding. That’s $ 372 million last year and $ 40 million this year.

According to Rementer, the Wolf administration has left $ 229 million of those dollars.

Spotlight PA was able to identify how the Wolf administration spent just under $ 128 million.Expenditure items include about $ 50 million Retention bonus For state staff. $ 20 Million Grant Hair salons and hairdressers$ 11.4 million in food banks Upgrade refrigerator and freezerAnd $ 6.5 million Student loan relief and apprenticeship For nurses.

The administration is still in the process of splitting the rest of the money between “specific programs in consultation with the General Assembly,” Rementer said.

For congressional observers, the quiet efforts to pour extra money into state-related universities highlight a stealth way for elected civil servants to make decisions without knowing about them, either the public or even state legislators. ..

Michelle Pollack, Executive Director of Harrisburg’s Good Government Group March, said: “But we need to take a closer look at that broken process.”

While you are here … If you learn something from this story, pay it in advance and become a member of Spotlight PA So someone else can do it in the future Spotlight PA is funded by Basics And readers like you A person working on accountability journalism to get results.

Governor Tom Wolfe quietly diverts $ 40 million to Pitt, another state-related university in Pennsylvania – Wake-up call

Source link Governor Tom Wolfe quietly diverts $ 40 million to Pitt, another state-related university in Pennsylvania – Wake-up call

Related Articles

Back to top button