Threatened PASSHE Board of Governors Last Year
HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Communications Director Megan Sweeney released the following statement regarding the Wolf Administration’s pattern of threatening Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education for the second year in a row.
“With two budget addresses under his belt we now see Governor Wolf’s pattern as a ‘Different Kind of Governor,’ specifically make the case for a radically liberal agenda that is out step with Pennsylvanians, first. Then when Democrats and Republicans reject that agenda, finish by threatening as many state funded organizations as you can starting with higher education,” Sweeney said. “Last year, Tom Wolf’s top policy official tried to intimidate the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education. This year, the Wolf Administration is trying to bully Penn State into getting behind major tax hikes on middle-class families.
“The Wolf’s Administration’s attempts to threaten universities such as Penn State is simply unacceptable. This is the type of bullying tactics that caused Pennsylvania’s schools and social services to suffer in the first place.”
2016 — Wolf Administration Tries to Bully Penn State
“Shortly before Gov. Tom Wolf spoke Tuesday, his secretary of policy and planning, John Hanger, sent an email to Penn State trustees encouraging the university to lobby for the governor’s proposed tax increases.” (Karen Langley, “Wolf aide to Penn State: Lobby for revenue increases,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/12/2016)
“In one of the emails [obtained by Capitolwire], sent the morning of Wolf’s second budget address, Hanger said Penn State President Eric Barron told Trustees the university will lobby for its appropriation but not for the revenue package to avoid taking a partisan stance.” (Kevin Zwick, “Hanger tells PSU to support Wolf’s tax package or face cuts,” Capitolwire.com, 2/12/2016)
- John Hanger informed the Penn State Trustees that “refusing to lobby for new revenues makes it more likely the budget will be balanced by massive cuts that will harm PSU.” (Karen Langley, “Wolf aide to Penn State: Lobby for revenue increases,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/12/2016)
- Press Secretary Jeffrey Sheridan said “Hanger’s message is very clear.” (Karen Langley, “Wolf aide to Penn State: Lobby for revenue increases,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/12/2016)
FLASHBACK: 2015 — Wolf Administration Threatens PASSHE
Some PASSHE Members said “they felt the governor’s aide was in effect threatening them.” “A day after an aide to Gov. Tom Wolf called it a ‘test of accountability,’ the board overseeing Pennsylvania’s 14 state-owned universities voted its intent this morning to freeze tuition next year provided the governor’s proposed double-digit percentage boost in campus aid passes the Legislature. But the State System of Higher Education’s board of governors, some of whom said they felt the governor’s aide was in effect threatening them, added a caveat — that the tuition level will still be ‘subject to the final determination’ by the board at an unspecified date.” (Bill Schackner, “Higher ed board to freeze tuition at state-owned universities if aid boost comes through,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/9/2015)
Not happy with just threatening support for this year, Wolf threatened to withdraw an additional $45 million in funding in the 2016-17 budget. (Bill Schackner, “Higher ed board to freeze tuition at state-owned universities if aid boost comes through,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/9/2015)