Penn State Appropriation: No Dice
Last night, Penn State came very close to actually getting money from the State Legislature, held up since October.
Unfortunately, the House adjourned at 11 pm before the body could vote on the proposed legislation. Much of the time spent in debate was tied up in wrangling and parliamentary procedure tricks. Those interested in a blow by blow account of the evening would do well to peruse the Capitol_Ideas Twitter page.
Frustration and anger were the dominant themes for those that watched the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN)’s coverage of the House debate last night. Interestingly enough, it was the Republicans of the House that sided with the students yesterday. How often has that happened?
Rep. Douglas Reichley (R., Lehigh) accused Rendell of “holding college students hostage” to the gambling bill.
“It is wrong,” he said.
The Democrats have had difficulty assembling the requisite majority to pass the bill, largely due to issues concerning casino license fees and local tax revenue share. When slot gambling was first being debated, it was made clear that table games would not be coming to Pennsylvania. Times change, I suppose.
Penn State has $334 million riding on this legislative maneuvering, money it has needed for some months now. However, the House will not reconvene until Monday, due to more pressing engagements in New York. I guess we’ll have to wait until then at the earliest.
It is times like these that we should wonder whether or not the Legislature, and indeed Harrisburg, realizes the asset that Penn State (and to a lesser degree Pitt, Temple, and Lincoln) is to Pennsylvania as a whole. Creating the educated workforce that Pennsylvania needs to get it out of its Rust Belt rut takes money.
Furthermore, who decided it was in the best interests of the University to attach our funding to a bill that would turn our state into another East Coast Las Vegas? Smarter heads failed to prevail, after a motion to divorce the University appropriations from the table games bill failed 95-97 in the midst of the debate. If you are interested in how your state representative voted on the matter, check out the Legislature’s website. University appropriations should never have to ride on something as controversial as gambling, because you shouldn’t gamble with higher education.
Save that for helping the elderly…
[Thanks to @_DjRyan for the Roll Call vote information]