Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Neufeld: City benefits from KU and should pay for repairs

April 5, 2007


— House Speaker Melvin Neufeld said Wednesday that because Lawrence benefits from having Kansas University, it should help pay for it with higher taxes.

"Lawrence would kind of be like Maple Hill if KU wasn't there," Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said at a news conference. Maple Hill is a town of about 500 people located 45 miles west of Lawrence.

Neufeld was speaking in favor of House Bill 2593 that would authorize counties with regents institutions to increase their sales tax by one-tenth of a cent to help pay for repairs and maintenance at universities.

Universities have said they have a backlog of hundreds of repairs worth $663 million.

Numerous proposals to help pay for those projects went nowhere during the first part of the legislative session, which ended Wednesday.

Lawmakers will return for a wrap-up session April 25, during which Neufeld and other key lawmakers said adopting a plan for the universities' repairs would be a top priority.

"That will be one of the big issues that will have to be resolved," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, and House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg, agreed that local taxes for regents schools should be considered.

But Schmidt said so far a solution has been elusive.

He said the House plan won't solve the problem, and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' proposal to pay for the repairs through increased turnpike tolls is politically unpopular.

"We're waiting to put a proposal on the table when we've figured out what can actually solve the problem and will pass. We're not there yet," Schmidt said.

He said a Senate bill that would allow counties to set up taxing authorities in regents counties to fund specific higher education projects could be part of the solution.

"The ultimate package is going to have to be a balance of different approaches," Schmidt said.

Schmidt said part of the reason for the impasse is that the cost of repairs is so large.

But Neufeld blamed the Kansas Board of Regents for why no plan had been adopted yet.

He said the regents opposed the House bill, which also would have provided $75 million in debt relief to free up funds for repairs.

And then, he said, the regents issued a news release saying it would receive revenue for repairs from the expanded gambling legislation.

"It kind of put things in chaos," he said.

Regents president and chief executive officer Reginald Robinson said Neufeld had mischaracterized the regents' position.

The regents supported the debt-relief portion of the House bill on repairs and had simply noted in the gambling news release that revenue from expanded gambling could go to infrastructure improvements, and the regents' repair needs were crucial. The news release wasn't meant to imply that the new gambling bill would solve the regents' needs, he said.

Neufeld did say that another portion of the bill, which would increase tuition for nonresidents, would probably be deleted from the bill.

Robinson said he was glad to hear that and remained optimistic that the Legislature would put together a plan to address deferred maintenance.

"Policy leaders are seeing the need to arrive at some significant solution, but it's a difficult challenge," he said.

In addition to opposition from the regents on the sales tax proposal, critics have said the House bill doesn't come close to providing enough revenue.

Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said a one-tenth of a cent sales tax increase in Douglas County would raise $1.4 million per year, much less than KU's share of the deferred maintenance projects, which is $260 million.

Even so, Neufeld said the state's community colleges rely on local taxes because those local economies benefit from having the schools. The same reasoning should apply to the state's major universities, he said.


drewdun 11 years ago

What part of STATE university doesn't this guy get?

classclown 11 years ago

If Lawrence/ Douglas County has to be the ones paying the bills at KU, then Lawrence/Douglas County should have a say in how KU is run and complete oversiight in how the money is spent.

Sigmund 11 years ago

"Lawrence would kind of be like Maple Hill if KU wasn't there," Neufeld, R-Ingalls, said at a news conference. Maple Hill is a town of about 500 people located 45 miles west of Lawrence."

Absolutely correct. If KU was gone so would one of the top employers in Lawrence with some of the highest paying jobs. Lawrence gets a net benefit (like no other town in the State I can think of, including Topeka) for every dollar increase in State taxes. Then add all the Federal tax dollars that support student loan dollars and all the money parents saved, often in tax advantaged accounts, for their kids education that are spent here and Maple Hill might actually be larger.

This town is designed to suck up State and Federal tax dollars. It is only fair that Lawrence pay its fair share to help support education in Kansas. You may not agree but I can guarantee the majority of voters in the State of Kansas do and they are a little tired of KU officials crying they can't maintain the infrastructure with the budget they are given.

Bottom line, this guy isn't going away anytime soon and when he does there would be another right behind him saying the same thing. So Lawrence you want the rest of the State to pay more in taxes for KU? You first.

Patty Buchholz 11 years ago

So, if we pay extra taxes to repair the buildings that should have been maintained all along, can we vote for a chancellor?

Jay Bird 11 years ago

Doesn't KU get emough money every year when they jack up the cost. I live here and can't swing it, god forbid I live out of state.

Bruce Bertsch 11 years ago

To hurley...The university and the athletic department are separate. The university is funded by taxes and tuition, the AD is funded privately, that means ZERO university funds used.

To HappyP...What part of State Owned do you not understand? The Regents for years have presented the legislature with the need to take care of maintenance on the buildings owned by the state and the legislature for years has refused. This is not the Chancellor's fault.

Our legislature has once again abdicated its constitutional duty to fund education. The statement by the house speaker indicates how far from reality our "legislative leaders" truly are.

formerfarmer 11 years ago

So Sigmund, does that mean you support Topeka paying the bills on all state buildings because "The town is designed to suck up State and Federal tax dollars." I agree with the comment, "If Lawrence/ Douglas County has to be the ones paying the bills at KU, then Lawrence/Douglas County should have a say in how KU is run and complete oversiight in how the money is spent."

MCwzMC 11 years ago

Some years back the state tried to bring blackmail charges against Neufeld but the charges were dismissed becasue his comments were protected by a form of legislative immunity.

Here's what went down: The defendant, Neufeld, is a Republican. Alldritt is a Democrat. Neufeld had been voting "Yes" on the omnibus bill and Alldritt had been voting "No" on the bill. According to Alldritt, Neufeld told him, "You're voting with us this time." Alldritt replied, "Excuse me?" Neufeld again stated, "You're voting with us this time. We know you were caught up in the [fifth floor] lounge in a compromising position with two [female] lobbyists earlier this evening. You're voting green or we'll call your wife."

Neufeld then called Alldrift's wife!!!!! Only to have the charges dropped becasue the Speech or Debate Clause of the Kansas Constitution prohibited the admission of the evidence.

WOW. The whole case is at:

MCwzMC 11 years ago

If the state passes this bill, which seems unlikely. It will undoubtedly face litigation for violating the Equal Protection clause of Kansas and United States constitutions.

collin2006 11 years ago

"That aint fare." ???? Maybe, "that aint fair." Perhaps the university is not a much of a good influence on the community as it is thought to be. Or, perhaps americorps has the same spell checker that I have - one that checks for spelling and not for stupid.

average 11 years ago

Yes, if KU wasn't here, Lawrence might be a Tongie on the way between Topeka and KC. But then, in most non-government towns the major employers pay property tax on their offices and sales tax on their revenue. The tax/benefit ratio in Lawrence already takes Neufeld's complaint into consideration. Lawrence pays for services for 90k people on a "personal" property tax more like a town of 60k people (dorms don't pay property tax) and business property of 30k people.

shockchalk 11 years ago

MCwzMC is absolutely right. Many of us know what happened and Melvin Neufield is the same arrogant liar now that he was then. He is clueless about KU, Lawrence, Maple Hill, and just about everything else he opens his mouth to comment on.

These are STATE buildings, just like Topeka, Manhattan, Pittsburg....etc. The maintenance is funded by the STATE and believe me, they want control over the University's money, they just don't want to take care of the buildings. Anyone that has any knowledge of this situation agrees that it is the STATES responsibility to take care of their buildings. Get a clue hurlehey and sigmund!

collin2006 11 years ago

moderationman stated that "The university is funded by taxes and tuition, the AD is funded privately, that means ZERO university funds used."

This is patently untrue. The athletic director's salry is in part paid by tax monies as well as that of the coaches, etc. The Athletic Department uses buildings and land that are owned by the state and maintained by the state. The list goes on.... And the is not to mention the use of the University as it's calling card, without which it would be nothing....

captain_poindexter 11 years ago

This is simple folks...

if they do this....KU MUST raise tuition on Kansans that do not reside in Douglas county, pure and simple.

does anyone know if the regents can do this w/o legislative approval?

I am a republican, actually very republican, and this really pisses me off. completely stupid.

the idea that only lawrence benefits from the university is silly. so, a kid from Ford County that doesn't have to pay huge tuition isn't benefitted from the University? so only lawrence or wyandotte county benefits from KU med school (I know isn't in Douglas county) that ships doctors all over rural kansas?

please please please, everyone, don't mail or email, CALL your legislators about this...

Baille 11 years ago

The "Honorable" Melvin Nuefeld:

On the last night of the veto session of the 1994 legislative session:in the lobby of the House chamber, Representative Neufeld, a Republican, engaged Representative Richard Alldritt, A Democrat, in a conversation.

Neufeld had been voting "Yes" on [an appropriation] bill and Alldritt had been voting "No." According to Alldritt, Neufeld told him, "You're voting with us this time. We know you were caught up in the [fifth floor] lounge in a compromising position with two [female] lobbyists earlier this evening. You're voting [with us] or we'll call your wife."

Alldritt testified that he did not respond to the defendant's threat. Instead, Alldritt walked into the House chamber and called his wife to advise her of the threat. A short time later, a vote was taken on the appropriations bill and Alldritt voted "No." At this time, [both still seated on the House floor,] Alldritt :received a phone call from Neufeld. According to Alldritt, the defendant stated, "This is Melvin. What's going on? Don't you--you're not voting right?" Alldritt replied that he was voting [no] and that he was not going to change his vote. Neufeld then stated, "Well, you know what this means." Alldritt replied, "Yeah, I know what this means," and hung up.

[Next] Representative Ed McKechnie:received a telephone call from Neufeld. Neufeld advised McKechnie that they were going to pass the appropriations bill that night and that Alldritt needed to change his vote to "yes" or "[w]e are going to call his wife and let her know he'd been caught in this compromising situation." Neufeld told McKechnie, "You need to make sure that Alldritt knows we're serious."

A short time later, McKechnie received another telephone call from Neufeld, asking him if he had delivered the message to Alldritt. When McKechnie told him he had not, Neufeld replied, "Well, he needs to know that we're serious. He needs to know we're serious." After talking to Neufeld, McKechnie called Alldritt and asked him how he was doing. McKechnie told Alldritt that he understood what was going on and that Alldritt had to do what he had to do. McKechnie made no effort to change Alldritt's vote.

Alldritt's wife:testified that she received a call from Neufeld shortly before midnight near the end of the legislative session. Neufeld told her that he was sorry to have to call and tell her that her husband's conduct was unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives. He advised her that he was concerned about her marriage and her husband's conduct. Neufeld advised her that her husband had been seen in a lounge with two women employees who stood to benefit from the passage of the bill on which they were voting. Mrs. Alldritt responded, "What do you want me to do now, call my husband up to get him to change his vote?" Neufeld replied, "Well, yes."

260 Kan. 930

Baille 11 years ago

Melvin Neufeld Kansas House Republican District 115 (District Map,District Demographics)

7405 15 Rd Ingalls Phone: 620-335-5316 Fax: 620-335-5855

Occupation: Farmer/Stockman

Capitol Office Room: 380-W Phone: 785-296-2302 Email:

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

KU needs to break it's relationship with the state to free itself from the influence of wankers in the legislature like Neufeld.

KU needs to become a private university.

Double tuition.

Focus on endowment and research funding.

BigDog 11 years ago

Our legislature has once again abdicated its constitutional duty to fund education. The statement by the house speaker indicates how far from reality our "legislative leaders" truly are.

The Kansas Legislature has no constitutional duty to fund higher education ........ you might want to read the constitution again.

Nothing in the constitution requires Kansas to provide a free and appropriate education for "higher education."

TheNorthlander 11 years ago

Finally somebody buying into the privatization argument!!!

I've been saying this for years...we'll handle ourselves since the State of Kansas won't help do their part at all.

Evan Ridenour 11 years ago

Hmm, state buildings making up a state university... that benefits the entire state... yet our speaker of the house says it isn't the states responsibility to finance maintenance costs? Rigggghhhhttt.

That logic isn't flawed in the least.

oldgoof 11 years ago

MODERATIONMAN SAYS @ 8:26: "The university and the athletic department are separate. . . . the AD is funded privately, that means ZERO university funds used." . A little misleading. The Athletic Corporation reports to the Chancellor and is under direct institutional control in its management decisions. And yes, there IS SOME direct appropriated state tax funds expended by the Athletic Corporation. You can obtain a copy of the public annual audit of the Athletic Corporation from the University or the Board of Regents.

oldgoof 11 years ago

To you people talking about "privitization" . 1) Where would the new private University raise the additional $250 million (beyond tuition etc) annually needed to run its operation . 2) Where would the new private University raise the money to purchase land and buildings worth a few billion . Duhhhhh.

shockchalk 11 years ago

Also a little misleading is your statement that KUAC reports to the Chancellor and is under direct institutional control in it's management decisions. KUAC does what they want to do but they are polite enough to let the chancellor know what they are doing. You underestimate the power (dollars) that they have. Regardless, this isn't about KUAC, it's about STATE buildings that ARE the responsibility of the Kansas Legislature. They are responsible for ALL STATE BUILDINGS. This is only a KU issue because of some lame, dimwitted idea from Melvin Neufeld. His logic would have to follow through to all the other State Universities because they are ALL victims of deferred maintenance.

shockchalk 11 years ago's not the Chancellors responsiblity to fund the maintenance of State's the legislatures so that's where we need to cut or fire the people responsible for the problem.

deec 11 years ago

The problem with the deferred maintenance is at all 6 state-owned universities. If I remember right, KSU actually had the highest total of deferred maintenance costs. This passing the buck idea will hurt the communities in which all 6 universities are located. If the out of state tuition clause is left in, it will disproportionately hurt FHSU, since about 1/2 of their students are in the virtual college, sister programs in Asia or from neighboring states. If the state had adequately funded their universities' maintenance all along, instead of cutting taxes and handing out money to racetrack developers, perhaps the maintenance costs would not be so high now. This is 2 decades of unfunded repairs.

kugrad 11 years ago

The city should do the following: 1. Redraw the city limits so that the campus and all campus buildings are not part of the city of Lawrence. 2. Charge campus vehicles to exit campus and use Lawrence streets. 3. Shut off any public services, such as water, to the campus and renegotiate the price of these services. 4. Convert all roads leading into campus to toll roads, free for non-state vehicles registered in Lawrence.

oldgoof 11 years ago

shockchalk: Sorry, but your post @ 11:49 is the one which is simply incorrect. Perkins reports to Chancellor. Chancellor hires, Chancellor fires. The Athletic Board reports to Chancellor, as required by NCAA. The educational insititution manages, as required by NCAA. The Athletic Board is clearly controlled by KU administrators. Read Articles and Bylaws. Review annual audit. Read Kansas Statutues. Read NCAA rules. Case closed. No question. . I agree on your statements about building maintenance. I disagree with incorrect statements about management and control of athletic department.

Sigmund 11 years ago

Johnson County pays 60% of the operating budget of JCCC and only the remaining 40% comes from State taxpayers and tuitions. They seem able to balance their budget year after year. Lets not forget that JCCC takes alot of KU students who can't seem to pass basic classes that are taught by KU's GTA's

The rest of the State is getting sick of constant increases in taxes to support KU and there is a perception that KU feels entitled to do as it likes, including not keeping up the maintenance, then come DEMAND more money from taxpayers.

Lawrence benefits more than any other town from these increases and does the least for State schools in their community. Douglas County should step up to the plate and kick in something, even 1% would be a start. It's seems only fair that a City and a County that has benefited so much by the largess of the State taxpayers should strive to do a bit more to help lighten load.

Baille 11 years ago

KU Grad:

No. What the city should do is charge all state politicians entering and leaving the city a nuisance fee.

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

Oldgoof asks some pertinent questions: 1) Where would the new private University raise the additional $250 million (beyond tuition etc) annually needed to run its operation. -State funding accounts for about a quarter of KU's expenditures, about the same as tuition and research dollars. By doubling tuition the state contribution could be eliminated. With increased fundraising and research grant efforts, it would be no problem.

2) Where would the new private University raise the money to purchase land and buildings worth a few billion. -This is a more difficult question. About the only way it could happen would be if the state donated the lands to KU with the promise that the state would be forever absolved of providing operating funds to KU.

I think this argument could be made, given the apparent shortsightedness of the legislature (donating the lands would not cost a penny in the short run, and the appeal of never having to fund KU is a strong one).

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

More pseudo-populist blather from Sigmoid.

Lawrence does indeed benefit from KU, but also has additional costs, such as roads, fire, water, police and other infrastructural issues brought about by the presence of the university.

Also, the state of kansas benefits from lawrence and from the university. If nothing else, Lawrence and KU provides right-wing liberals like Sigmoid a boogey-man to blame for all of their daily failings and perceived injustices. This must be worth something.

So, by Sigmoid/Neufeld logic, Topeka and Shawnee county should be taxed to maintain government buildings, counties containing state prisons should be taxed for their upkeep. Basically, any county or municipality harboring a state institution benefits, and thus should be taxed. This is ridiculous, but is no surprise coming from the legislature and from reactionaries like Sigmoid.

Sigmund 11 years ago

Since you missed the subtleness of my arguement, I shall state it simply. "Those that benefit at a higher rate should pay a higher rate. Lawrence benefits at a higher rate and so should pay at a higher rate." Simple Socialist logic.

Put even more simply, this is a State University and I doubt the rest of the State is going to have a problem with increasing taxes in Lawrence. Blue County, Red State. Get it? Call me all the names you will but I suggest Lawrence get ahead of the curve here and show some willingness to compromise. Especially when you are in a fight where the numbers are way against you.

Sigmund 11 years ago

Taking KU private would be a disaster pure and simple. You think the fall of the Soviet Union and their movement to a freer economy was messy? Take a bunch of self important socialist professors and ask them to compete for student tuitions by offering high quality classes focused on the needs of the students and free of their personal biases and prejudices.

Yeah, that could work.

shockchalk 11 years ago

Oldgoof, I usually agree with your post but I have to tell you, regardless of the statutes, by-laws, NCAA rules, etc. It is not as clear cut as you believe. KUAC is an extremely powerful corportation that does pretty much what they want to do with very little oversight from the university. There is definitely communication, hiring, budget, and other ideas that are shared between the two but the organization stlye that your describing does not's only on paper. The athletic dept. does what they want to do..........there's a reason the AD makes a lot more money than the chancellor.......sorry.

Porter 11 years ago

Sigmund, what does this refer to?: "...and does the least for State schools in their community."

"..The rest of the State is getting sick of constant increases in taxes to support KU ..." Did you read this in the Emporia Gazette, or are you just guessing?

"...there is a perception that KU feels entitled to do as it likes, including not keeping up the maintenance" Are you serious?? For 20 years, the Board of Regents have been reporting on the maintenance funding shortfalls to the legislature. For 20 years the state legislature has REFUSED to pay for these repairs. And now it's KU's fault?

Seriously, get a new boogeyman.

shockchalk 11 years ago

Porter is right and as usual Sigmund is clueless. It's not that difficult.........this is a state funding problem, NOT a ku oversight blunder. At least have enough intelligence to blame the right people. Why do you think he came up with the idea in the first place, they have never wanted to tackle this issue and they still don't!

shorttrees 11 years ago

How about we go with the formula that has been used by the community colleges, where the school gets funding from the student's originating county? Of course that just means that KU will ignore the Lawrence HS students even more than they do now, but it would be $$$!!

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

No, Sigmoid, I understood your "subtle" logic. Any community that houses a state-supported institution is benefiting more than other communities that do not. They should therefore be required to provide more of the support.

I am just extending your logic to prisons, state patrol offices and training centers, government centers, etc. All of these institutions, supported by the state, give benfit to their community in terms of jobs and economic support, the same benefits Lawrence derives from KU.

I think your last statement was telling (that lawrence is a blue county in a red state). Neufeld, and those like him (e.g. you) dislike KU and Lawrence and want to punish them. It is sour grapes, envy, and hate that drive this lunacy.

Stop being disingenuous and own up to the truth, Sigmoid.

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

"while I do not think that we should pay for KU remember that without KU this town would be a scipio kansas. ever heard of it? did not think so"

True, but any Kansan who so desires can live in Lawrence. the benefit is open to all. There is no law prohibiting anyone from living anywhere in this state, as far as I know.

If you don't like Scipio, move to Lawrence, ferchrissakes!

Sigmund 11 years ago

Just stating the obvious, "Hey Custard, there are lot more Indians than Cowboys here." If this is a fight you think you can win, knock your socks off. And for the record, I have two advanced degrees from KU and am proud of them both. I didn't draw the Red/Blue map but I am capable of understanding its significance here.

And also for the record, I know and have nothing but respect for Reggie Robinson. But go ahead and cut off the head of the messenger and bury your head in the sand, that approach has always worked so well in the past.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 11 years ago

Does everyone remember the Naismith Drive storm water improvement project that Lawrence spent a ton of cash on? KU provided nothing even though they are the cause. Their facilities and parking lots have no storm water retention built in that other development in town must provide.

There is no doubt that KU benefits Lawrence, in many ways that are hard to measure, but they also create a lot of tangible hardships for Lawrence that we are forced to subsidize.

oldgoof 11 years ago

Shockchalk: sorry, you are simply wrong. Contact me privately if you want to pursue.

Lifelong Lawrencian: KU has designed stormwater retention in projects, including the parking garage next to allen field and house and soccer fields, to ease water shed to south. In addition KU pays hefty portion of City stormwater city tax to pay for drainage projects.

oldgoof 11 years ago

Captn Poindexter: Although Regents establish tuition rates, Legislature passes the laws establishing basic definitions of resident and non-resident tuition.

oldgoof 11 years ago

shorttrees: The mechanism suggested by your 2:17 post about community colleges was legislatively established.

Lifelong_Lawrencian 11 years ago


Thank you. I stand corrected.

deec 11 years ago

Again, this proposal applies to all 6 Regent's universities. Its not about getting even with KU. Its about the state abdicating responsibility for funding maintenance for 60% of their buildings for 2 decades. I haven't read the papers in Emporia, etc., but the people here in Hays are just as upset about the state's lack of support as the folks in Lawrence are.

Porter 11 years ago

"People are peed off locally about KU and across the state. KU is just another breeding institution of mediocre learning."

Seriously, where do you guys get this stuff?

Baille 11 years ago

The Neo-Con Cookbook. $9.95 at Wal-Marts [sic].

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

To the person who wrote: "And for the record, I have two advanced degrees from KU and am proud of them both. "

Ok, it was Sigmoid.

I believe it was "Custer", not "Custard", who underestimated the numbers and ferocity of the tribal soldiers (in a fight in which there was no way the Indians could win, right?).

Also, according to some on this thread, your advanced degrees from KU explain your wrongheaded and ignorant posts.

I thought KU sucked and was full of do-nothing, socialist professors. Remember?

By your own words, maybe you shouldn't advertise your advanced degrees from KU. They and $1.25 will get you a $1.00 cup of coffee.

yourworstnightmare 11 years ago

I will repeat what I stated earlier. There are no laws in kansas prohibiting anyone from living anywhere in the state. If one in Scipio, or Ingalls, or Hill City or wherever thinks that Lawrence is reaping huge benefits from KU, then move here. Become a Lawrencian. No one is stopping you. You have free will. Just stop whining and moaning about Lawrence getting all of these benefits for which they should pay.

getserious 11 years ago

why should the city pay for anything at the University when the University is taking money away from the city and local businesses by moving Football games to Missouri. Pay for it your own da&n selves.

grimpeur 11 years ago

Of course, Douglas County would be able to collect property taxes from KU, by Neufeld's tortured logic.

I say let's do it.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.