Pennlive: ‘You’re Done In Four Years,’ Scott Wagner Tells State University Bosses | Friday Morning Coffee

* During a budget hearing on Tuesday, Wagner was caught on tape telling state system officials that “your system is done in four years.” 

* In an email, Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for state Democrats, accused Wagner of wanting to “defund Pennsylvania’s higher education system,” thus “[eliminating] the ability of middle class families in Pennsylvania to send their children to an affordable and good college.”

* In June 2106, Wagner was one of three Senate Republicans who voted against a $31.53 general fund budget bill that included a 2.5 percent increase for all the state’s higher education budget lines, including the state System of Higher Education.


Pennlive: ‘You’re done in four years,’ Scott Wagner tells state university bosses | Friday Morning Coffee

By John L. Micek

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

If you’ve spent even a nanosecond around state Sen. Scott Wagner, then you know the York County Republican isn’t a fan of unnecessary government spending.

This is a guy, after all, who dismissed Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2017 budget proposal as full of “feel-good talking points,” even as it boosted state spending, and who, along with some House Republicans, once controversially claimed he’d found billions of dollars in savings across state government.

Now, Wagner, a leading contender for the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination this spring, is taking some heat for remarks he recently made to the head of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

During a budget hearing on Tuesday, Wagner was caught on tape telling state system officials that “your system is done in four years.”

Some artfully edited video circulated by the state Democratic Party this week has Wagner on tape telling SSHE officials that “you are out of runway, you are out of oxygen. The taxpayers are not going to continue to pump money into this system.”

There’s then a cutaway in the video, which shows Wagner continuing, “For those of you who think your schools are going to be around in four years from now, ain’t going to be around. We are going to stop pumping money into this system. It’s ridiculous.”

State system officials have struggled in recent years with sagging enrollment across the 14 state-owned universities, which include such local institutions as Millersville University in Lancaster County. The historically black Cheyney University came close to losing its accreditation last fall, but was saved by a bail-out plan.

This week, state System interim Chancellor Karen Whitney told PennLive’s Jan Murphy that the $15 million increase, to $468.1 million in FY 2018-19, that Wolf proposed in his budget for was appreciated, but not enough to meet the needs of its 102,000 students.

In an email, Beth Melena, a spokeswoman for state Democrats, accused Wagner of wanting to “defund Pennsylvania’s higher education system,” thus “[eliminating] the ability of middle class families in Pennsylvania to send their children to an affordable and good college.”

“At a time when when we should be working to expand opportunities and increase college affordability for the middle class, Wagner is showing how out of touch he is by doing the exact opposite,” she said.

In June 2106, Wagner was one of three Senate Republicans who voted against a $31.53 general fund budget bill that included a 2.5 percent increase for all the state’s higher education budget lines, including the state System of Higher Education.

Wagner’s spokesman, Andrew Romeo, said in an email that the GOP gubernatorial hopeful is “fully committed to making sure the [state university] system gives every student a chance to attend a quality college at an affordable price.”

Wagner was “making an obvious point that if we do not get the outrageous amount of money we are spending on the benefits for teachers, coaches and administrators under control and more efficiently manage our university system, these opportunities will disappear,” Romeo continued.

The example he points to after the [Democratic Party’s] selective editing is a West Chester University swim coach who [PennLive] reported is one of the top 48 earners in Pennsylvania state government,” he concluded.

Read the article here.