Stack: State-related Universities Should Disclose How They Spend State Funds
HARRISBURG, June 30, 2012 — State Sen. Mike Stack said today that he is disappointed that backdoor legislative maneuvers prevented the state legislature from voting on state budget bills for the four state-related universities that included language that requires transparency on how the universities spend their state allocations.
“I have been a long-time advocate of funding for higher education. The better our society is educated, the more we all prosper and benefit,” said Stack (D-Phila.). “However, the full disclosure of what this money goes towards has always troubled me. The money is sent to the universities general fund and then it’s divided for various purposes.”
The senator offered amendments to four budget bills that would offer more transparency, accountability and openness by requiring state-related universities — Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln — to clearly define where their state allocation goes. The money would be kept in a separate account from other university funds and would only be used for student aid, professor or employee salaries, capital projects, and the acquisition, improvement or maintenance of technological or instructional material or equipment for research-related projects.
Stack’s amendments were attached to Senate Bills 1467-1470. However, the House of Representatives instead pushed through another set of non-preferred budget bills (Senate Bills 1122-25) in order to avoid the Senate bills that included Stack’s amendments.
“In light of the Sandusky investigation that Penn State is embroiled in, I felt it was appropriate to make universities accountable for how they spend their state-appropriated funds. These amendments would have allowed Penn State, for example, to use taxpayer money for appropriate university-related expenditures, rather than insurance coverage in civil claims against the university,” Stack said. “But circumstances outside of my control will not let these amendments see the light of day. It’s disappointing to know that this process was conducted to manipulate the legislative process and stonewall transparency.”