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Archive for Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Regents thank local chambers for supporting tax increase

Education cuts have damaged state, officials say

April 7, 2010, 5:36 p.m. Updated April 7, 2010, 9:25 p.m.

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— Kansas higher education officials on Wednesday thanked the 14 chambers of commerce that said they could support a tax increase to help resolve the budget crisis.

In a letter to the leaders of those local chambers, the Kansas Board of Regents said it “will take the next decade” to recover from budget cuts already made to higher education.

The letter said further cuts will jeopardize important federal funding “that has served as a life-preserver for our state’s higher education system.”

Kansas legislators are at an impasse over how to fix a projected $450 million budget hole for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Nearly $1 billion has been cut from what was once a $6.4 billion budget. That includes $106 million, or 13 percent cut from higher education.

Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat, has called for a tax increase to bridge the remaining shortfall, but House Republican leaders and the statewide Kansas Chamber of Commerce have opposed any tax increase.

Last month, 14 local chambers broke ranks from the statewide chamber position, and wrote state leaders, saying they were concerned that further substantial cuts would hurt business development by doing permanent harm to the quality of life in Kansas, which they said includes education and transportation.

“If revenues must be enhanced for basic government services, our chambers can support rational state revenue enhancements,” the chambers wrote.

The chambers that signed the letter were: Arkansas City, Dodge City, Emporia Area, Grant County, Greater Kansas City, Greater Topeka, Hutchinson-Reno County, Hays Area, Kansas City, Kan., Manhattan Area, Northeast Johnson County, Olathe, Overland Park and Salina Area.

Higher education officials agreed with the local chambers. “It is heartening to know that we all share the recognition that healthy local businesses are essential for a thriving economy and that a healthy Regents system — equipped to meet the state’s demand for a well-trained workforce — is essential for businesses to reach their full potential,” the regents’ letter stated. It was signed by Regent Chair Jill Docking, Vice Chair Gary Sherrer and Regent President and Chief Executive Officer Reginald Robinson.

The regents’ letter states that because of recent budget cuts, more than 1,000 employees and positions have been laid off, held vacant or eliminated and more than 450 academic programs have been eliminated.

“Tuition has increased, institutions are now turning away qualified Kansans from high demand programs, and some institutions are considering enrollment caps,” the regents’ letter stated.

Legislators return to session on April 28 to put together a state budget.

Comments

wastewatcher 4 years, 8 months ago

Since the Regents are so interested in enhancing revenues, why don't they order the schools to quit playing games -KU KSU and PSU - football and basketball - in KC,MO sending all of the tax revenue to Missouri. How many total dollars are involved, a whole lot.

heath 4 years, 8 months ago

Toe: Did you not read the next to last paragraph “Tuition has increased,..."

wastewatcher: When KU plays an athletic game anywhere, tax dollars are not involved. While there are many things I do not like about KU athletics and the athletic cooperation, it, nonetheless, is funded through private donations, not state money.

geekyhost 4 years, 8 months ago

Colleges actually return more money to the community in terms of a higher skilled workforce than they do in tuition. We get doctors, dentists, lawyers, and architects from KU, and a whole lot of other skills (insert joke about waiters with a philosophy degree here). Juco breaks it down even more and says that for every tax dollar they collect, they give $2.70 back to the community. When I got my job, they didn't care what my degree was in, but they did require I have it. It literally doubled my earning potential. When I was growing up, we always thought a quality education was possible "if you study hard and do well in school." That's meaningless for the middle class if tuition keeps going up. Right now it's around $72,000 in tuition for a four year degree (not counting housing, food, books, fees) for non-Kansas residents at KU. That's probably as close to the "real" cost as we'll find (though I suspect it would be more than that), and that's already out of range of some middle class families - even after need based financial aid. While the student could work and save, realistically most students that enter the workforce full time do not reemerge to go back to school. And the co

Boston_Corbett 4 years, 8 months ago

Toe simply doesn't believe in public higher education. If tuition = all costs, it would be private, where only the rich can attend. I'm imagine he would prefer K-12 the same way.

You know, the system straight out of 17th century Europe.

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