Topeka — An error in the wording of an amendment to the state budget bill will cost higher education $3.6 million and could jeopardize $40 million more, officials said Wednesday.
So, the Kansas Board of Regents has asked Gov. Mark Parkinson to line-item veto that section of the appropriations bill.
The problem is over an amendment that was approved during the budget debate in the legislative session that ended last week.
Rep. Don Hill, R-Emporia, intended for his amendment to add $3.6 million to the higher education budget. The amendment was approved in the House on a 98-21 vote, and the Senate later concurred with the House-approved budget.
But an error by legislative staff in drafting the amendment “had the exact opposite effect and reduced the budget by an additional $3.6 million,” Reggie Robinson, Regents president and chief executive officer, said in a letter to Parkinson.
If enacted, this would drop higher education appropriations below the required funding floor for the regents to use $40 million in federal stimulus funding, Robinson said.
“It is vitally important that this Legislative staff error not jeopardize the $40 million in federal” funding, he said.
Robinson told Parkinson that after consulting with Rep. Hill and legislative staff, “it appears the best course of action is to request that you line-item veto” the provision.
The issue gets even more complicated.
Hill’s amendment to add higher education funding was actually intended to reduce the amount of money that would have “lapsed” into the state’s all-purpose general fund.
If Parkinson vetoes the provision, it would remove all the lapsing funds and actually increase higher education funding beyond the intention of Legislature. To solve this issue, Robinson recommends that Parkinson true up the “lapse language” in the supplemental appropriations bill put together in the fall.
A spokesman for Parkinson said the governor will review every proviso in the budget before taking action.