PA State Budget Impasse

Old Main, an administrative building and landmark of Penn State's University Park campus.
Lindsay Lazarski / Keystone Crossroads

The ongoing budget impasse in Harrisburg has been especially frustrating to Pennsylvania’s state-related universities, which have been counting on a roughly $650 million allocation from the state to subsidize lower tuition rates for students who live in the commonwealth.

The allocation is negotiated and approved yearly by lawmakers, and this year, in the midst of a long-overdue budget plan, there remains no consensus on how to pay for it.

Mary Wilson

Nearly nine months into the fiscal year, Pennsylvania's budget impasse will end -- or nearly end -- this week. 

Governor Tom Wolf, facing pressure from state-funded programs and fellow Democrats, said Wednesday he'll allow a roughly $6 billion supplemental funding plan to become law, but without his signature. 

"I cannot in good conscience sign this bill," said Wolf, speaking from a podium next to his office in the Capitol. "I cannot in good conscience attach my name to a budget that simply doesn't add up."

Durrwachter Alumni Conference Center building
By User:Ruhrfisch - Photo taken by self, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8138315

Students at state universities, like Lock Haven University, are finally in the process of receiving state grants that had been delayed due to the continued budget impasse. Though the money is finally on its way, students are still dealing with the fallout of the delayed funding.

The budget impasse was not expected to go on quite this long. Students who didn’t receive their Pennsylvania state grant funds until just recently have had to make sacrifices.

Gov. Tom Wolf giving budget address to full room.
Chris Knight / AP Photo

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf offered up some tough talk for the GOP-controlled state Legislature in his second budget address, scarcely mentioning the details of his proposed $33.3 billion plan.

“Usually this speech is an opportunity to lay out an ambitious agenda for the year ahead,” Wolf said. “But I can’t give that speech. Not under these circumstances.”

Wolf’s proposal calls for $2.7 billion in new and higher taxes to close a budget gap and funnel more money into education, human services, and mandated spending.