HARRISBURG, March 22, 2011 – – At the first Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing, state Sen. John P. Blake criticized the proposed budget cuts to Pennsylvania’s higher education institutions.

“I look at this budget – particularly our budget for higher education — and I believe it is the worst economic development strategy upon which we can embark,” Blake said. “The cost of college tuition is already daunting for many who are seeking higher education. It is does not make sense at this time, or indeed at any time, to shift more of these costs to struggling families”.

In his budget, Gov. Tom Corbett has proposed a cut of $625 million, or 52 percent, for the 14 state-owned universities in the State System of Higher Education, as well as Pitt, Temple, Penn State and Lincoln. In addition, the Governor has proposed a 50 percent cut to Institutional Assistance Grants – funding that our independent colleges and universities use to enroll lower income students. Overall, Corbett proposed reducing funding for higher education by about 44 percent to $836 million.

“I understand that it is politically advantageous for Gov. Corbett to stick to his campaign promises, but when the campaigns are over and we’re elected, we have a responsibility to govern well. This budget does more harm than good as we try to grow out of this recession,” Blake added. “I look forward to additional budget hearings and I will work for a smarter and more fiscally responsible spending plan that focuses on long term benefits to our citizens and taxpayers – a budget that is not balanced on the backs of college students and their families.”

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