Gov. Tom Wolf announced his 2017-18 Executive Budget last week with no increase in appropriations for Temple.
Wolf’s budget proposal outlined about $150 million for Temple, the same amount the university received in 2016-17. None of the other state-related universities, which are Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University, received budget increases.
In his budget address, Wolf said he cut $2 billion in spending without a “broad-based tax increase.”
On March 1, President Richard Englert and the presidents of the other state-related universities will travel to Harrisburg to meet with and testify before the Senate Finance Committee, said university spokesman Ray Betzner.
Englert has testified in Harrisburg for Temple’s budget before, when he served as interim president in 2012 between former presidents Ann Weaver Hart and Neil Theobald.
“He knows what to expect,” Betzner said. “He is a very strong advocate for Temple and wants to make sure the value of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania is known to the committee.”
It has not been determined yet if Englert will ask for an increase in funding from the proposed 2017-18 amount, or if he will advocate to the committee to keep the originally proposed amount, Betzner said.
In an email to students on Feb. 6, George Kenney, Temple’s senior adviser for government affairs, told students to advocate to make sure the university gets enough funding.
“In the coming weeks, we will keep the Temple community updated on the budget and how you can add your voice in support,” he wrote. “It will be important that your elected representatives hear from you about the value Temple provides its students and the Commonwealth.”
The email also gave students the option to sign up for Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network, a group of students and faculty that reaches out to state and local legislators to advocate for Temple’s funding.
The budget still needs to be passed by the state legislature, a long-fought battle last year after stalling deliberations resulted in an eight-month budget impasse. Theobald and representatives from last year’s Temple Student Government traveled to Harrisburg to attend the appropriation hearings. Theobald and other representatives from state-related institutions testified that if the budget was not passed by June 30, the universities would face serious repercussions.
At the end of the impasse, Wolf still didn’t sign the budget but allowed it to pass to keep the state running. The impasse would have resulted in the reshuffling of university expenses and caused Temple University Hospital to suffer financially, Ken Kaiser, the university’s CFO and treasurer, told The Temple News in March 2016.
Most of Temple’s state funding goes toward the discount in-state students receive off their tuition, which adds up to about $10,000 off for in-state students, Betzner said.
The state constitution requires that a budget is passed by June 30.
Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.