Archive for Tuesday, March 10, 2009

House GOP budget writers won’t commit federal stimulus funds to higher ed

March 10, 2009


— A move to plug nearly $50 million of federal stimulus funds into Kansas higher education was rejected Tuesday by House Republican budget writers.

Democrats criticized the decision, saying it could result in fewer Kansans being able to afford college, and fewer campus building repairs getting done.

“Stimulus money can’t stimulate unless it’s utilized,” said state Rep. Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City.

“The Legislature cannot afford to turn down help from the federal government,” said state Rep. Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

But Republicans said they needed more information on the federal stimulus package before recommending use of the funds.

“My preference is that we have all the facts together,” said Appropriations Chairman Kevin Yoder, R-Overland Park.

Vice Chairman Jason Watkins, R-Wichita, said he wanted to “make sure we’re doing it right.”

They said the issue could be reviewed again next week or during the wrap-up session that starts April 29.

The dispute represented the first dust-up in the Kansas Legislature over the use of Kansas’ share of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was approved last month by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Burroughs made a motion to put Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ budget amendment into the Appropriations Committee spending recommendation.

The proposal would have added $49.6 million in federal stimulus funds to post-secondary institutions for deferred maintenance projects and tuition assistance.

But Republicans, who hold significant majorities in the Legislature, rejected Burroughs’ motion.

Democrats said they didn’t understand why Republicans wanted to delay a decision on the higher education stimulus funding when GOP officials already accepted stimulus funds for K-12 schools. Higher education has already sustained a 4.25 percent budget cut in the current fiscal year.

“I have not heard a good reason why we have to wait,” state Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, said.

Democrats said that there is a backlog of “shovel ready” deferred maintenance projects, that the funding increase will create jobs and that construction costs are low.

But state Rep. Barbara Craft, R-Junction City, and other Republicans said they wanted to wait until the federal government had finished writing rules and regulations for use of the stimulus funds.

“There’s a good chance that the money will be put in,” Craft said.

Another Republican, state Rep. Mitch Holmes, of St. John, said he feared the regents universities would grab all the deferred maintenance funds and leave none for the community colleges.

But Democrats said that the Legislature and Kansas Board of Regents have already approved a schedule of repair projects for all higher education institutions.


Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 3 months ago


Kevin Yoder has said many times higher education was his top priority as a legislator.

I guess he was kidding, it must be a running gag. Ha! Good one!

That's what she said!

Bruce Bertsch 9 years, 3 months ago

It's all about gutting govt. Jobs and education are vastly over-rated. Besides, we haven't funded maintenance for over 20 years, why start now? I'm waiting for the call for a tax cut to solve all our state issues.

Budgets_Smudgets 9 years, 3 months ago

Keeshens comment struck me as being a democrat apologist.

Then I read his posting history and concluded I was correct.

joshupetersen 9 years, 3 months ago

I really hope they don't do tax cuts. Wealth isn't a matter of how much money someone has, it's a matter of how much work their money is doing. Taxes aren't a bad thing, it's effectively the American population buying in bulk to save costs. (Prime example: roads. Can you imagine having to pay the thousands for the road in front of your house? By gov't doing it, costs to make those roads are cut drastically.)

In my humble opinion, the only time taxes should be cut is if you're willing to move onto a system of economics that doesn't require government to tax (such as the Heinlein heritage check system proposed in his book 'For Us, The Living' or to a resource based economy like the Venus Project), or if the government can continue to provide all services with less cash (aka, smarter shopping). Trying to cut taxes by cutting services in order to boost the economy is like selling your only car for gas money to get to work.

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 3 months ago

Nothing says "democrat apologist" like pointing out past comments of a State Representative who apparently likes to pander to higher education.

Excellent retort. That's what she said.

I suppose it also makes you a "democrat apologist" when you note that Rep. Yoder had no such qualms about stimulus funding for K-12 education.

Sticks and stones, friend. Sticks and stones.

Budgets_Smudgets 9 years, 3 months ago

You prove my point. And that's what I said.

tir 9 years, 3 months ago

Why is that higher education institutions usually end up being treated like ugly stepchildren by the state government? Seems like universities are always getting the short end of the stick when it comes to funding. Higher education is just as important to the future of Kansas as K-12. The more education a person has, the higher their earning capacity will be as an adult. Yet many of the Republicans in the Legislature act like they have a grudge against the universities and are just itching for a chance to make them suffer. It just doesn't make sense to me that they are so eager to hand stimulus money to public schools, but drag their feet when it comes to doing the same for higher ed. There's an obvious bias here, and it's harmful.

N_Trenched 9 years, 3 months ago

If the current administration is any indication of the result of "higher education", I prefer that my money goes toward something worth while.

madameX 9 years, 3 months ago

This headline is misleading (shocker). The implication is that those evil Republicans won't spend money meant for higher education on higher education, but the article says that they just won't spend it yet because they don't have all the rules in place for how to spend it. If they keep dragging their feet I'll have a problem with that, but is a slight delay really going to hurt anything?

p.s. LJ World, I sure would like the option of using italics and bold in comments...

bunnyhawk 9 years, 3 months ago

pandering to higher education............... that the opposite of promoting ignorance??????

and that is bad for Kansas how??????

kugrad 9 years, 3 months ago

This is not surprising given how few of the members of the Kansas House completed a college degree. A large percentage of them have not. I would argue that a college degree is a necessary prerequisite to become a lawmaker, not because of some 'elitist' philosophy, but because a high-school education is not sufficient for the job requirements.

I have respect for the Republicans in the KS Senate, even though I don't always agree with them (or their cohorts across the aisle), However, the KS House, in particular the Republicans, are an embarrasment to the State of KS.

1029 9 years, 3 months ago

tir (Anonymous) says: "Yet many of the Republicans in the Legislature act like they have a grudge against the universities and are just itching for a chance to make them suffer."

Duh. Higher education is the great enemy of the GOP. Would a person who made a living off of pick-pocketing argue for more money to be spent on increasing police presence? Would a church raise money to help bring a natural history museum to town? Would Lawrence businesses lobby for all KU basketball and football home games to be played in KC? So why would one expect the GOP to want money to essentially go towards creating more democrats?

Education usually leads to a more left-leaning political ideology (provided the influence of the education can overcome the influences of family tradition, religious teachings, etc). The GOP knows that in order to delay its inevitable demise, it must fight against the causes of that demise.

kugrad 9 years, 3 months ago

What percentage of Kansans live outside the major cities and what percentage live in cities? Despite the large agricultural industry, is is hardly accurate to reduce our broad economy down to an "agricultural state." We are also talking about FEDERAL tax dollars here, so those 'suburbanites' paid the same amount as you did.

LiberalDude 9 years, 3 months ago

Why do Republicans hate education so much???

bevy 9 years, 3 months ago

I have no issue with the legislature waiting until they see what all the rules are, before they commit to spending the money. There are likely going to be strings attached - let's see what they are before we take the money.

oldvet 9 years, 3 months ago

"I would argue that a college degree is a necessary prerequisite to become a lawmaker,"

Maybe it should also be a prerequisite to vote for lawmakers...

Ceallach 9 years, 3 months ago

Expecting our state legislators to waiting until they see what all the rules are is just as reasonable as expecting our congress to read the spendulous bill before signing it. Guess we just expect too much!

RogueThrill 9 years, 3 months ago

Oh come on. everyone knew Kevin yoder was full of crap when his campiagn photo had both a dog and two little girls and they turned out to not be his. It's not like he knows anything about kids.

tolawdjk 9 years, 3 months ago

"I have no issue with the legislature waiting until they see what all the rules are, before they commit to spending the money. There are likely going to be strings attached - let's see what they are before we take the money."

Except when you consider that the Ag portion of the porkulus is already loaned out.

Wait and see, this is not.

The_Bends 9 years, 3 months ago

joshupetersen :

"Wealth isn't a matter of how much money someone has, it's a matter of how much work their money is doing."

You are exactly right, and the problem now is that many "wealthy" individuals--being risk averse--will not put their money into higher risk, higher growth investments. Instead, a great deal of this wealth is being invested in safer investments like bonds, gold, and money markets. Thus, it appears that whether one advocates tax cuts or not, much of the money will ultimately end up in the same place--in government debt securities.

Eric Bur 9 years, 3 months ago

The LJW has become nothing but a shill for the Demopcratic Party, as evidenced by the one-sided headline of this story.

Have you people no journalistic integrity?

I am sure your would defend your headline as "factually accurate". But does it truly convey the reality of the activities within the legislature? No, the sole purpose of the headline is to leave the reader with the impression of "Reublicans bad", "Democratics good".

Really, really transparent and really, really shameless.

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