Topeka The Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity on Tuesday unveiled a state budget proposal that would cut taxes and spending, but calls for higher college tuition.
The proposal also would allow more privatization of government services and calls on lawmakers to challenge the existing public school finance system.
"This document provides a road map so that legislators can take care of the state's necessities and still have room for growth," said AFP-Kansas director Alan Cobb.
The 54-page "Commonsense Budget Proposal" reflects the group's positions for limited government, reduced taxes and increased public-private partnerships.
The plan would spend $6.3 billion in state tax funds for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The measure is about $90 million less than the proposal Gov. Kathleen Sebelius made to legislators in January. The budget is expected to be finalized next month.
Americans for Prosperity was founded by billionaire David Koch, who is an executive vice president of Wichita-based Koch Industries, and was the Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. vice president in 1980.
On higher education, the AFP report states that tuition at Kansas public universities, which has doubled in recent years, should be even higher.
The existing rate, the study states, subsidizes public education to put "private colleges in the state at a tremendous disadvantage in providing competitive tuition rates."
On public schools, the AFP budget funds the final year of a three-year, court-ordered increase but wants the Legislature to revisit the basis for the lawsuit that prompted the court action.
"The removal of elected officials' final authority over taxpayers' funds and the transfer of that authority to appointed parties (i.e. the Kansas Supreme Court) is the ultimate special interest money grab," the report states.
The group's budget recommendations also include closing the Kansas Water Office; ending tax credits to industries and using those funds to lower taxes for all Kansans; and merging the Kansas Human Rights Commission into the office of the attorney general.