Call on Republicans to Schedule Schools for Budget Presentations

Harrisburg, January 31, 2012 – Led by State Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery), Senate Democrats today urged the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Chair to reconsider his refusal to schedule budget hearings for Penn State, Pitt, Lincoln and Temple, State System schools and community colleges.

“Our community colleges, State System and state-related universities are critical to our system of higher education,” Hughes said.  “It is important that we understand the local and statewide impact of state funding decisions relative to these schools.

“Students, parents, administrators and the communities that host these universities need to understand the impact of deep budget cuts and how they will be personally affected by potentially large tuition spikes and program changes.”

The letter to Senator Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte), signed by the 20 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, indicated that if the Appropriations Committee failed to hold hearings, then Senate Democrats would host separate public hearings to gain details about higher education.

“Higher education institutions are at a critical juncture here in Pennsylvania,” Hughes said.  “Steep cuts in state appropriations as a result of Corbett administration budget decisions have forced state-related, State System and community colleges to consider alternatives with consequences for students, parents and Pennsylvania’s economy.

“Officials from our colleges and universities should be afforded the opportunity to discuss their financial needs with the members of the Appropriations Committee so that they can make informed budget decisions.”

Senator Hughes is the Democratic Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.