HARRISBURG – Republican Appropriations Chairman Seth Grove (R-York) held a briefing for members of the press on July 20, covering the Great Betrayal Budget Impasse and a path forward to funding state-related universities.
“On March 21 of this year at their budget hearing, the state-related universities, Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln universities, all stated they would not freeze tuition for in-state students even with a 7.1% increase proposed by Gov. Josh Shapiro,” Grove said.
“In addition to asking for tuition freezes for in-state students, House Republicans have consistently shared conditions for continuing state-related funding, including adherence to the Right-to-Know law and a real conversation on direct-to-student-funding for Pennsylvania college students,” Grove added. “We would love to work through these issues, but Democrats have left Harrisburg for the summer. Given the resignation of Rep. Innamorato yesterday and scheduled special election for that seat on Sept. 19, I don’t expect Democrats to engage with us in a meaningful way before Sept. 26 when we return to session, or even at all. These facts make it clear; this failure sits at the feet of House Democrats and Gov. Shapiro.”
Grove also shared how House Republicans are viewing spending during the Great Betrayal Budget Impasse, which appears destined to last until at least late September.
“We are currently in a full Budget Impasse, thanks to the Great Betrayal, this means there are limited state government payments that should be made,” Grove said. “If/when the Senate signs House Bill 611
, without a Fiscal Code there are many line-items, programs and payments which still cannot be paid. We will be keeping a close eye on all spending from the Shapiro administration and will be looking for expenditures that are not: ‘Programs that affect health, safety and protection of Pennsylvanians or as required under federal law, state court decisions or the Pennsylvania Constitution.’”
In terms of the overall Great Betrayal Budget Impasse, state agencies have already begun making requests to spend unspent prior years funds. This practice has been seen in prior budget impasses during the Wolf administration.
“There are clearly areas which should not be paid right now, including out-of-state travel by cabinet secretaries, advertising, administrative costs (not including salaries), contracts, contract amendments and membership dues to name a few,” Grove added. “Once we have a Fiscal Code, we’ll still be keeping an eye on spending, thanks to Treasurer Stacy Garrity’s Transparency Portal
“We urge House Democrats to return to session and work on a compromise budget – including state-related universities – but I certainly won’t be holding my breath,” Grove concluded.
>> Link to Grove's briefing handout