State Sen. Tom Holland, a critic of the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., has been appointed to the board that oversees the economic development agency, it was announced Thursday.
“Senator Holland has been extremely concerned about the future of KTEC throughout this past legislative session,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, who named Holland, D-Baldwin City, to the KTEC board.
“As a board member, Senator Holland will be able to use his research and expertise to reassess the effectiveness of KTEC, and to determine the most efficient ways to encourage capital investment, technology transfer and job creation in Kansas,” Hensley said.
During the past legislative session, Holland introduced a bill that would have abolished KTEC and moved its functions to the Kansas Department of Commerce and state universities.
At the time, Holland said KTEC, which was established in 1986 to promote technology-based development, had succumbed to high costs and little accountability. He has also tussled with KTEC when he requested expenditure records of the agency.
Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had vetoed KTEC’s $12 million in funding, but lawmakers restored $7 million in the final budget.
Since Sebelius has left to become secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, her replacement, Gov. Mark Parkinson, has said he may accept a lower-funded KTEC but wants lawmakers to reassess the state’s economic development strategy.
KTEC’s 16-member board includes business and government leaders. At least two members must be legislators who serve on either the Senate Commerce Committee or Joint Committee on Economic Development. Holland serves on both of those committees.