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Archive for Monday, December 20, 2010

Jay Emler elected Kansas Senate majority leader, says higher education probably won’t get funding increase

December 20, 2010, 11:11 a.m. Updated December 20, 2010, 4:46 p.m.

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State Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, on Monday was elected Senate majority leader by the Republican caucus. Emler, who was unopposed, will control the flow of legislation and debate in the Senate where Republicans hold a 32-8 advantage over Democrats.

State Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, on Monday was elected Senate majority leader by the Republican caucus. Emler, who was unopposed, will control the flow of legislation and debate in the Senate where Republicans hold a 32-8 advantage over Democrats.

State Sen. Chris Steineger (left), R-Kansas City, Kan., confers Monday with state Sen. Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, during the Senate Republican meeting in the Capitol. Steineger left the Democratic Party last week.

State Sen. Chris Steineger (left), R-Kansas City, Kan., confers Monday with state Sen. Dennis Pyle, R-Hiawatha, during the Senate Republican meeting in the Capitol. Steineger left the Democratic Party last week.

— Kansas Senate Republicans on Monday elected a new majority leader who said that repeal of the recent sales tax was a bad idea, and that higher education would probably not see an increase in funding.

Sen. Jay Emler, R-Lindsborg, was elected without dissent and without opposition by his fellow Republicans, who hold a 32-8 advantage over Democrats in the Senate.

Asked about upcoming legislative budget battles, Emler, who has served as chairman of the Senate budget committee, said the state spending plan for next fiscal year will be "austere."

Emler also serves on the transition team of Gov.-elect Sam Brownback, a Republican who will take office Jan. 10 at the start of the 2011 legislative session.

Budget experts forecast an approximately $500 million revenue shortfall, primarily because of the expiration of federal stimulus funding.

Despite the dire revenue projections, some Republicans have called for repeal of the 1-cent increase in the state sales tax rate, which was approved last session and went into effect July 1.

But Emler said repeal of the levy would make matters worse and deepen the budget deficit by another $300 million. Brownback has also spoken against trying to repeal the increase.

Emler also said he doubted higher education would get an increase in funding.

"It simply doesn't exist," Emler said of the revenue.

After two years of cuts totaling more than $100 million, the Kansas Board of Regents have submitted a plan to increase higher education funding by $50 million. The proposal would require approval from legislators and Brownback.

As majority leader, Emler will set the Senate's debate schedule and run party caucus meetings.

Emler, an attorney who has been in the Senate since 2001, said he would try to unite the sometimes divided caucus. He replaces Derek Schmidt, R-Independence, who was elected attorney general. Sen. Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, had considered running for majority leader but bowed out of the race last week.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he was glad Emler decided to take the position.

“Jay Emler has the experience and knowledge to be an effective and efficient leader of the Republican caucus," Morris said.

The newest member of the GOP caucus, Sen. Chris Steineger of Kansas City, Kan., attended Monday's meeting. Steineger switched from the Democratic Party last week.

On Monday, Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, was made chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, taking Emler's place.

Comments

William Weissbeck 3 years, 12 months ago

Who would of thought - Obama's stimulus money kept the state afloat! Oh, but it's evil, dirty money. Wake up, most states are in financial ruin. The only thing that's kept them afloat for many years is some form of federal spending/grant money. States can't run deficits, but the federal government can and then sends the money to the states. What do you think will happen to KU and K-State if the federal grant money disappears? Before you get in such a hurry to cut federal spending - think where it's been going. It's not all food stamps.

3 years, 12 months ago

"The only thing that's kept them afloat for many years is some form of federal spending/grant money."

Exactly, and the only thing that has kept the feds afloat is their ability to borrow or create unlimited amounts of money to spend. When that power comes to an end, like it has in Ireland, Iceland, and Greece (and soon to be Portugal, Italy, Spain, and England), the screams will be unbearable. Yet they will be borne, for there will be no other choice. Far better to wean ourselves now, while we still have a cushion.

Besides, Kansas is not going to fall into the ocean if KU's Wimmin Studies, History of Art, or Slavic Literature programs get axed. Seriously.

TheStonesSuck 3 years, 12 months ago

There's nothing wrong with fiscal responsibility... but cutting spending has consequences. We should put more money into the public school system... I realize the focus of the article is on higher education funding. My argument is that our public school (K-12) system is what is actually screwed. Kansas public schooling is ridiculously bad. Besides a few JoCo schools, MAYBE Wichita East High (good teachers in IB program, crap everywhere else), and I believe Salina has at least one high school that always scores well... Kansas high schools are pretty bad. Also, why does Kansas insist on having two universities?!!!?? we could shut down Moo U and split the loot between KU and the various school districts around the state. Seems like those fatcats (see: KU grads) in Topeka are missing an opportunity here.

areyousure 3 years, 12 months ago

And where do you suggest all these students attend class at? It's not as if K-State and KU are operating with half full classrooms. Or are you suggesting that only half of the students should attend a state university? Yes, there are other colleges in the state but it's not like they have empty classrooms.

Students pay the bulk of the cost of their education. The state's portion has declined each year. Should enrollment be limited to in-state students? Out of state students pay a higher tuition. Should enrollment be limited by GPA? Doesn't any KS student deserve the opportunity to attend a college in Kansas?

There are two universities because there is the demand for two universities. Neither campus could support the doubling of the student population. Each campus have programs that unique to the location and others that exist on both. If I am a resident in western Kansas and want a teaching degree, relocating to Lawrence may not be an option.

concernedeudoravoter 3 years, 12 months ago

Shut down 'Moo U.' I suggest you do a bit of research. Which institution has more Rhodes, Marshall, Truman and Goldwater scholars over the past 5, 10, 20 or 30 years. It's not the school on the hill. The academic success of Kansas State University is second to none for public universities throughout the country. Check the statistics again. Those four major scholarships - KSU has had more awarded to its students, than any other public University in the country.

concernedeudoravoter 3 years, 12 months ago

Not to refute your data - but here goes. Since 1986 (let's just call this recent history) Kansas State University has had 8 Rhodes Scholar winners. During that same time frame KU has had 4. Overall statistics for the Major Scholars I quoted before - for public universites, since 1986: Rhodes: KSU number 2 among public universities Marshall: KSU number 3 among public universties Truman - KSU number 1 (all-time not just since 1986) among public universities Udall - KSU number 2 (all-time not just since 1986) among public universities Goldwater - KSU number 1 (all-time not just since 1986) among public universities Overall for these 5 scholarships - Since 1986 - Kansas State number 1 among 500 State Universities (KU is number 6) Overall - compared against all universities - Since 1986 - Kansas State is number 6, behind Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton and Duke. The academic reputation speaks for itself.

cowboy 3 years, 12 months ago

Looking at the spelling of education in the headline maybe we have cut too much already

ferrislives 3 years, 12 months ago

I'm not one to normally point these things out all of the time, but isn't it ironic that a story on education funding has a mis-spelled word in the title?

"Jay Emler elected Kansas Senate majority leader; says higher educatoin probably won’t get funding increase"

should be:

"Jay Emler elected Kansas Senate majority leader; says higher education probably won’t get funding increase"

3 years, 12 months ago

Which is a real shame, considering how far American students trail the rest of the world in football, band, and basketball.

kujayhawk7476 3 years, 12 months ago

Hopefully, Kansas school districts and the Regents will file suit against the legislature for violating the law re funding and throw the book at this new administration and all Kansas house members and senators. Throw the bums in jail, raise taxes and fund schools and universities! NOW! Education is the key to our long term success as a state! If necessary close a couple of regents institutions and spread the money around to the rest. Say "Good-bye", Fort Hays State, Emporia State and Pitt State! LOL

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 12 months ago

" If necessary close a couple of regents institutions and spread the money around to the rest. Say "Good-bye", Fort Hays State, Emporia State and Pitt State!"

And what would happen to the cities of Hays, Emporia and Pittsburg if that happened? Not to mention the well over 100,000 people who live in the immediate regions around those towns which are the economic centers of those regions?

pace 3 years, 12 months ago

The republicans have made a lot of bad investments choices, they almost broke Kpers, they swallowed every privatization scheme some business pitched, their economic development initiatives funded through lottery proceeds are so bad they should be sued, and now they don't think education is a good investment. Is that what you tell your kids, don't worry about getting a good education, it doesn't pay. Lets not keep our schools up to standard, it won't matter as much as you think . We don't need a skilled work force, we can hire people educated in other states. Not enough real farmers left in the legislature, They understood. not sowing a crop means no harvest,

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 12 months ago

Let's start by closing Fort Hays State and Emporia State. Closing K State is not feasible, but would help. Having two research universities in a state with the population of Kansas is unsustainable.

Close Fort hays State and Emporia State.

Make KU private (the state could donate all land and assets to KU).

KSU would then be the sole state-funded research university, and students who couldn't cut it at KU or KSU could go to Pitt State, Wichita State, or Washburn.

organicman 3 years, 12 months ago

The news of the day is that State Senator Jay Emler has ascended to Majority Leader of the Kansas State Senate for the 2011 Kansas Legislative session. For the citizens of Washington, Clay, Dickinson, Marion, Butler, and Cowley Counties the selection of Senator Emler is a bitter pill to swallow. In 2006 the legislature passed a law, KSA 79-227, that granted the Keystone/TransCanada Cushing Extension pipeline a 10 year exemption from local property taxes in the six counties it passes through. The estimated lost tax draw to the six counties is estimated to be over $18 million per year. It is now known that the exemption did not bring the pipeline to Kansas because the route had been planned since before 2004. None of the states north of Kansas gave TransCanada property tax exemptions nor did Kansas exempt property taxes to the Keystone pipeline now operating across northeast Kansas. As Chairman of the Senate Utilities and Energy Committee in 2006 Senator Emler was a key player in drafting and passing this flawed and unfair law. In the last year as the revelations and impact of this law became known to the press and citizens, Senator Emler has been AWOL and mostly unavailable except to claim he was lied to. TransCanada officials say that they never asked for the exemption but that is was offered up as a gift by the legislators. When a bill, SB584, was introduced in the 2010 Legislative session to restore some of the lost tax revenue to the six counties it was declared DOA. Where was Senator Emler’s support, since several of the counties are in his district? There are three possibilities to explain Senator Emler’s actions: he was ill-informed and ignorant, he was too gullible, or he was corrupted by the large foreign energy company. This blot on Senator Emler’s ten year legislative career should have eliminated him from ever being considered for re-election much less a leadership position.

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