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Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tax increase proposal floated for university maintenance

February 14, 2006

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— Officials from community colleges and technical schools on Monday asked lawmakers to not forget them when it comes time to figure out how to pay for repairs at state higher education facilities.

So far, all the focus has been on a backlog of $584 million in deferred maintenance at the six public universities.

House Higher Education Committee Chairman Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, said he would consider a measure that includes a 3-mill statewide property tax increase that would provide a revolving loan fund for projects at universities, community colleges, technical colleges and Washburn University.

Representatives of community colleges and technical colleges spoke in favor of the bill. But Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, opposed the measure.

He said it would "put the burden of deferred maintenance for state buildings back on the state universities" by requiring them to borrow funds and then pay them back.

The regents have endorsed a plan that increases property and sales taxes and issues $150 million in bonds.

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