Governor Not Backing Off From Tough Budget Talk

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Less than 24 hours after his second budget address, Gov. Tom Corbett was defending his plan to cut the state subsidy to the University of Pittsburgh by 30 percent.

Gov. Corbett told Larry Richert and John Shumway on the KDKA Morning News on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA that the cut to Pitt sounds dramatic until you put it in perspective.

“When you look at it from dollar contributions from the state, it’s significant moneys, but when you look at it from their operating budget, for Pitt it’s 2.1 percent of their operating budget,” said Gov. Corbett. “And we don’t have the money we have to pare back.”

In response through a statement, Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said the governor’s math is deceptive because he’s including $800 million that the university receives in research and grant money.

Nordenberg points out that money, “can only be spent on the projects for which they were awarded and are not a source of revenue that can be used for more general purposes or to reduce tuition levels.”

As for the “workable solution” to the transit crisis the governor mentioned on Tuesday, today he told KDKA: “We’re not going to go into those right now; we have to sit down and see if there is the will within the legislature to do something with this this year.”

While the will of the legislature is measured, the clock is ticking towards the Port Authority cutting almost half of its routes this fall. Gov. Corbett says it’s an election year and it’s hard to get the legislature to tackle tough issues.

John Shumway: “Well, can you tell the person that is looking at their bus being canceled in September that that is not going to happen?”

Gov. Corbett: “No, I can’t tell them that. I can’t lie to anyone like that. I don’t know that right now.”

Click the link below to listen to the full interview:

Gov. Tom Corbett Defends His Budget (2/8/12)
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