Commonwealth Relations reviews introduced legislation and evaluates its potential impact on Pitt, submits the University’s annual budget appropriations request to the Department of Education and the General Assembly, and serves as the point of contact for public officials and the University on commonwealth-related matters. Through the Pitt Advocates, Commonwealth Relations engages students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the University in grassroots advocacy and support for Pitt, culminating each year in Pitt Day in Harrisburg.
The Pennsylvania State Budget Process
The Pennsylvania state budget is the spending blueprint for each fiscal year. It earmarks funds for public schools, highways, and job creation. The state budget includes a number of different funding sources including federal funds, the Motor License Fund, the Lottery Fund, and dozens more. Each fund is designed to meet a particular state need. For example, the Lottery Fund pays for services to senior citizens. Citizen tax dollars and other revenues provide the necessary funds to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians.
The first Tuesday of February each year, the governor unveils his proposed budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. In February and March, House and Senate Appropriations Committees hold public hearings on the budget where both chambers hear testimony from state agencies. Following the hearings, the chambers introduce a budget bill, which House and Senate members may amend. A conference committee meets to reconcile any differences between House and Senate versions of the budget, and the House and Senate vote on this compromise budget.
Shortly after final passage, state agencies adjust their spending plans to reflect the funding which the new budget provides. State agencies begin compiling their spending proposals for the next year in early fall, and in December, the governor gives legislative leaders a mid-year budget report on the status of the General Fund.
Each year, the chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh submits a budget presentation to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on behalf of the University. This presentation includes a statement from the chancellor, an overview of the impact Pitt has in the state and beyond, and a specific budget request with line item overviews. This presentation will be considered by the General Assembly as they prepare their own budget to present to the governor.
When the budget is passed and signed by the governor, the University will resubmit its final budget reflecting any changes.