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Government Affairs Update

Commonwealth Relations

On February 3, Governor Rendell released his proposed FY 2004-05 budget for the Commonwealth. The Governor is proposing a total of $43,696,000 for the University, an increase of $750,000, or 1.7 percent above the amount for the current fiscal year. The Governor's proposal for the Veterinary School increases to $37,090,000 or 1.6 percent. The Dental Clinics line item was increased to $1,029,000, or 21.6 percent, bringing the Clinics' funding up to the same level as Temple and Pitt's Dental Clinics. The other three line items were held flat--Medical Instruction $3,832,000; Cardiovascular Studies $1,520,000; and University Museum $225,000.

The proposed increase for Penn is consistent with the increase provided the other state-aided private institutions and the Institutional Assistance Grant recipients (all other private colleges and universities not receiving direct appropriations). Proposed budgets for state-related institutions (Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln) are increased by 2.2% and the State System of Higher Education is increased by 3.0%.

In addition to the funding recommended for the University in its non-preferred appropriation, the General Fund budget includes a recommendation of $2,000,000 for the Regional Cancer Institutes, the same level as the current year. Penn's Cancer Center receives $600,000 from this funding.

In other higher education funding items, the Governor recommends an increase of 2.5% for the PHEAA student grant program. The Governor's budget provides no funding for either the higher education equipment or engineering equipment programs (these programs had been eliminated in last year's final budget). The Governor proposed a reduction from $3 million to $500,000 in the amount available to provide low interest loans to colleges and universities to install dormitory sprinklers. The budget also proposes $3.3 million for the start-up of the Keystone Innovation Zone program.

In the area of health care, the Governor's budget makes no cuts to two Medical Assistance Programs, which had been restored in last year's budget--Outpatient Disproportionate Share (Penn Medicine impact--$2.6 million/yr) and Medical Education payments (Penn Medicine impact--$6.4 million/year). However, the Governor's budget provides no funding for the Community Access Fund (CAF), through which Penn's three urban hospitals receive approximately $4.8 million annually.

The University is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Committee on February 25th in support of its Commonwealth appropriations request.

City Relations

City Council

Budget--Mayor Street postponed the presentation of his annual budget proposal until March 18, instead of the traditional January address. Anticipating a $144 million deficit, the Mayor wants to give his Administration sufficient time to develop cost-saving solutions and to consider the Tax Reform Commission's findings. By Charter rule, the Mayor must deliver his budget to City Council 90 days before the end of the fiscal year. City Council has devised an aggressive hearing schedule to begin on March 31.

Tax Reform--During the first full session of the new term, Councilman Michael Nutter introduced a 13-bill package of local tax reform measures designed to implement the recommendations of the Tax Reform Commission. The Commission was established as a result of the electorate's approval of Mr. Nutter's Home Rule Charter amendment in 2002; the body released their comprehensive plan for reform in November 2003. Hearings for the bills have not yet been scheduled. Council members are still struggling internally with conflicts related to member committee assignments and referrals of bills to appropriate committees.

Educational Housing District Legislation--Councilman Darrell Clarke's (D-5) has introduced a measure to expand the Educational Housing District to include a portion of his district in the vicinity of Temple University. Under the current law passed by Councilman Nutter, the Educational Housing District is limited to the geographical boundaries of the Fourth Councilmanic District, and requires colleges and universities within those boundaries to comply with administrative requirements related to parking and leasing with the aim of controlling nuisance behavior among independent students living off-campus. Bill No. 040094 seeks to place the same burden on Temple University by amending only the definition of the geographical area of the Educational Housing District to include a small portion of Clarke's district (the Temple University area).

City Government

Mayor John F. Street announced on February 12 that Stephanie W. Naidoff, Law '66, is taking over as City Representative and Commerce Director. Ms. Naidoff, a corporate lawyer, is replacing James Cuorato, who held the post throughout Mayor Street's first term. Ms. Naidoff was also founding president of the Kimmel Center.

Community Relations

40th Street Development

The Office of Community Relations, and Facilities and Real Estate Services, through Penn Praxis, has established a broad internal and external consultation process to critically examine and direct the on going development of the 40th Street corridor. The first of a series of public meetings to discuss the future of 40th Street and its role as a commercial corridor in University City will be held February 17, 7-9 p.m. in the first floor rear of The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street. Penn's Office of Community Relations is the contact for this process.

This series of public meetings focused on 40th Street is designed to bring together representatives from University City's diverse institutions, businesses, community associations, residents and other stakeholders to collectively develop a core set of principles to help guide the planning of 40th Street. Coordinating this forum is a steering committee of University City community members, both resident and institutional, dedicated to community participation and development. Penn Praxis gives students across the University of Pennsylvania School of Design the opportunity to gain real-world problem-solving experience, while providing professional services and consultation to community and civic groups.

--Carol R. Scheman, Vice President for Government,
Community and Public Affairs

University of Pennsylvania History of Non-preferred Appropriation
(in thousands of dollars)

FY 2000
FY 2001
FY 2002
FY 2003 FINAL HB 2495
Instruction
$ 0
$ 0
$ 0
$ 0
Medical Instruction
4,034
4,034
4,034
4,034
Dental Clinics
938
938
938
891
Cardiovascular Studies
6321
882
1,632
1,600
Veterinary Activities
32,276
34,783
36,626
38,445
University Museum
2192
2413
2483
2363
Total University
$38,099
$40,878
$43,4784
$45,2065

 


FY 2004 FINAL HB 1379
FY 2004 FINAL % INC.
FY 2005 GOV. REC.
FY 2005 GOV. REC. % INC.
Instruction
$ 0
0
$ 0
0
Medical Instruction
3,832
-5.0
3,832
0.0
Dental Clinics
846
-5.0
1,029
21.6
Cardiovascular Studies
1,520
-5.0
1,520
0.0
Veterinary Activities
36,523
-5.0
37,090
1.6
University Museum
2253
-4.7
2253
0.0
Total University
$42,946
-5.0
$43,696
1.7

 

 


  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 22, February 17, 2004

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