The state treasurer warned Monday that public schools and higher education could be hit hard by more budget cuts in coming months.
“We’ll be a little while climbing out of this, so there are more cuts coming,” Dennis McKinney, a Greensburg Democrat, said Monday before he addressed the Lawrence Rotary Club at the Lawrence Holidome.
“But it’s important that we maintain that research and that critical workforce development effort that positions us where we need to be in the future for job growth.”
Gov. Mark Parkinson and state leaders have struggled with falling revenues during the recession, and Parkinson already has warned that more cuts will be coming as part of the state’s 2010 fiscal year. It begins July 1, and budget leaders say the state already faces a $174 million deficit.
McKinney said that during difficult economic times the state still needed to protect research efforts and other job training programs. He mentioned cancer research efforts at Kansas University, aviation research at Wichita State University and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University.
Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed McKinney, the former Kansas House minority leader, as treasurer in January after Republican Lynn Jenkins won a seat in Congress. Parkinson, who became governor when Sebelius was tapped to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has said he will not run to keep the office in 2010.
And it appears McKinney isn’t interested, either.
“I’m about 90 to 95 percent sure right now I’ll be running for state treasurer,” he said.
He said the Democratic candidate field could emerge this summer. On the Republican side, U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback and Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh are pursuing the nomination.
“(Democrats) will look for a candidate with good business sense and someone who can bring together people from both sides of the aisle,” McKinney said.