Pennsylvania’s public television stations will not receive state funding for the second year in a row.
Gov. Tom Wolf had proposed a budget in February that would have restored station funding for fiscal year 2023 at $1.5 million. But the state budget signed by the governor July 8 does not include the funds.
The funds are divided evenly among the state’s TV stations and support technology needs and operating expenses. They also cover program-related fees, equipment acquisitions and production and distribution costs.
“After serving Pennsylvanians with enriching, entertaining and educational programming and services during this greatest time of need, we are disappointed that the legislature removed funding for Pennsylvania PBS stations from the Commonwealth’s budget,” said Pennsylvania PBS, a group of seven stations, in a joint statement Friday. “Although we wish the legislature had continued supporting the meaningful work of Pennsylvania PBS this fiscal year, we will passionately carry on fulfilling our mission to our neighbors, and we will work to restore the state funding for future budgets.”
In its statement, Pennsylvania PBS said it spent the $750,000 appropriation in FY21 to help pay for the daily distribution of PBS Kids programming as well as the production of statewide programs like Battling Opioids, a multimedia project, and The Robot Doctor, a video series that educates high-school students about robotics and mathematics.
Gov. Wolf is term-limited and cannot seek reelection to a third consecutive term. The next election for governor is in November.
The state’s legislature previously zeroed out funding in 2009. Wolf’s office proposed restoring the funds in 2015. In fiscal years 2017 and 2018, stations received $250,000. Wolf’s office also proposed $250,000 for FY20, but the legislature increased the funding to $750,000.