pennvet

Rebecca Bernstein examines a patient at Penn Vet.

Photo: Courtesy of Adam Lerner / Animal Planet

The School of Veterinary Medice is at risk for losing approximately $30 million in state funding for the next fiscal year.

In his annual budget address on Tuesday,  Gov. Tom Wolf (D) proposed a budget plan that would fully eliminate state funding to Penn. If passed, Penn will lose almost $30 million in state funding.

The loss will most significantly impact Penn Vet, which obtained $28 million of the $31.51 million that Penn received in state funds in the 2015 fiscal year. The annual fund was previously used to support the Vet School’s animal hospitals and agricultural research, as well as its teaching. The rest of the funding was distributed to the Dental School and Penn Medicine.

The $30 million, however, represented only one percent of Penn’s $3.18 billion Academic Operating Budget in the 2015 fiscal year. A budget presentation released by Wolf also showed that Penn receives more state appropriations than a number of similarly-sized private universities.

However, according to Penn Vet's statement responding to the budget proposal state funding ensures the Vet School’s “ability to deliver life-saving services at its two animal hospitals, advance research programs that support the agricultural industry and maintain commitment to developing and growing the veterinary profession.”

While recognizing the “severity” of state’s budget challenges, the statement highlighted that Penn Vet is the only veterinary school in the state and plays an integral role in maintaining the health and prosperity of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. The statement cited that two-thirds of Penn Vet graduates remain in Pennsylvania to practice and that there is a practicing Penn-trained veterinarian in almost every county in the state.

The statement went on to say that the state funding is "designed to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Pennsylvania and its largest industry, agriculture,” and pledged to “[illustrate] the full value of the Vet School to Wolf and the general assembly and mobilizing supporters throughout the Commonwealth."

Wolf on Tuesday described this spending plan as "the largest cuts to, and consolidations of, government bureaucracy” in state history.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Wolf’s budget also falls far short of the $61 million increase in funding requested by the Pennsylvania state system of universities with only a $9 million increase.

An editorial by the Philadelphia Inquirer argued that Wolf crafted the budget to appease the Republican-majority state legislature and avoid further gridlock.

The move comes as Pennsylvania state legislators are also introducing legislation to cut funding from "sanctuary" schools, such as Penn.

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