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Archive for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kansas Board of Regents reject 7.5% pay cut solution

February 20, 2011

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— Kansas Board of Regents members have expressed consternation over a proposal by a group of House Republicans that would cut the salaries of top researchers at higher education institutions by 7.5 percent.

“The answer to our economic problems is getting intellectually smart people,” said Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park. “It is going to be difficult in doing that if we punish them for doing something well.”

The proposal “defies logic,” said Vice Chairman Ed McKechnie of Arcadia.

The Legislature is working on a budget rescission bill for the current fiscal year, and faces an estimated $492 million revenue shortfall in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee proposed a 7.5 percent pay cut to state employees and elected officials.

But they pulled back after a public outcry and limited the 7.5 percent to legislators, state officers, judges and regents employees making more than $100,000 per year. That was approved by the full House. The Senate budget plan does not apply the pay cut to regents employees.

Critics of the House plan say cutting the pay of top researchers will cause them to look elsewhere or be lured by better paying jobs.

Regents’ unhappiness with the House plan was expressed last week as they were approving continuation of a regents distinguished professorship and stipend for Dr. Blake Peterson at Kansas University Medical Center.

Peterson is a distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry and works on ongoing innovations in cancer vaccines and therapies for neurodegenerative disorders.

He has received grants of nearly $3 million, according to the regents.

Sherrer said reducing the salaries of people like Peterson would only hurt Kansas in the long run. The proposed pay cut would apply to approximately 1,500 employees at regents universities.

Comments

remember_username 3 years, 1 month ago

In my industrial experience, when a company started cutting compensation it was the higher quality employees who left for positions elsewhere first. This nearly always precipitated a decline in that company's product despite the immediate benefit on the company's bottom line. Universities are no different in this respect. What surprises me is how many educators have remained in a state that exhibits such disinterest in education.

Perhaps we should let these tea party conservatives have their way in Kansas. Let them balance their budget by cutting education and services without compromise. Let the rest of the country draw off the higher quality personnel and then let's see the result in a generation or two. Sadly little will be proved to those who remain. Once the last vestiges of critical thinking are lost the population will be unable to identify what went wrong - they'll probably just blame Missouri.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Oh yeah, I'm so ashamed that I'm using anonymity. On the internet. It takes soooo much courage to challenge someone to a face to face meeting rather than answer direct questions.

If you're unwilling to participate in a forum, then why are you posting? And why are you so obsessed with removing anonymity? Just so you know, that's a big no-no around here. Another reminder -- this is the internet, anonymity is not a mark of shame.

By the way, this is about the Regents universities. Since you still seem pretty worked up about "increased government spending," please answer the questions about how Kansas would benefit from decreasing overall Regents spending. Start with the lost "government" jobs, mmkay?

Or instead you can stick with your "face to face" dodge. Real original, by the way.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

What a cop out. Way to stand behind, "FYI, when most government agencies talk about budget cuts, they mean they are spending less than they want to spend, not that they are necessarily spending less money."

Pretty typical Koch-backed nonsense. Your out-of-context numbers aren't so fun when you aren't surrounded by sycophants in the Legislature and your fellow Koch-funded groups, eh Mr. Trabert? Wouldn't this be more fun if your only audience was Mike O'Neal and Derrick Sontag?

If you have no opinion on the amount being spent by the Regents, why post here on a story about a 7.5% payroll reduction?

How do you feel about that proposal, then? Hmmmm? So eager to post, but scared to death to answer questions.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 1 month ago

Bob, for someone who accuses me of twisting things around, you certainly have a way with words. You know full well that I made no comment on whether state aid to higher education was a good, bad or indifferent matter. I simply stated what it was.

If you'd like to have a debate about these or other issues, I'm all for it. But let's do it in public where others have a chance to listen in and we can professionally challenge each other's facts and be sure that positions are not misstated. Not sure where you are but I'd be happy to come to your town and meet someplace in public to have a discussion over coffee. Let's invite others who post here to join us. You in?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

Wait, let's take Mr. Trabert's argument to its logical place.

Essentially, Mr. Trabert is saying it is a bad thing that overall spending at Regents schools has gone up.

So, what benefit to the state would there have been if overall spending had gone down? You have decided to define it as "state spending" because it is accounted for in the budget, so let's cut it, OK?

Please, explain how Kansas would be a better place to live if overall spending at its Regents universities had gone down over the past two years. While you are at it, explain the benefit to state government and to the state's general fund.

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Ken Lewis 3 years, 1 month ago

Ok, so fire them and give them an 100% pay cut.

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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month ago

If these researchers can supposedly make 2-3 times the amount in the private sector, then let 'em - I'm sure there are oodles of available jobs out there if they believe the Obama Administration.

Then, cut the board of regents' pay across the board 25% or tell them to take a hike as well.

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Dave Trabert 3 years, 1 month ago

Total spending for the Regents system in FY 2010 was $37.7 million higher than in FY 2008. You can see spending by university and the Regents at http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovernment/AgencySpending/AllFundsSpendingbyAgency/tabid/1586/Default.aspx

The data was provided by the Kansas Division of the Budget. Total spending did decline by $58.4 million from FY 2010 to FY 2009 but that is all accounted for by Kansas State University. Excluding K-State, total spending in FY 2010 was $47.3 million higher than FY 2009 and $90.5 million higher than in FY 2008.

FYI, when most government agencies talk about budget cuts, they mean they are spending less than they want to spend, not that they are necessarily spending less money.

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voevoda 3 years, 1 month ago

If Regents employees who earn over $100,000 per year can afford to take a 7.5% pay cut, then all Kansas residents who earn over $100,000 per year can afford to pay 7.5% more in taxes. That would be equitable. Of course, if all the high-earners had to "bite the bullet" because the state is "broke," then the percentage would not need to be 7.5%. In fact, it wouldn't have to apply to everyone who earns over $100,000 in that case. The tax increase could start at $500,000. Does anyone think that someone who earns half a million dollars per year can't afford to pay more, out of a sense of responsibility for the well-being of the state within they reside?

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bobberboy 3 years, 1 month ago

"a group of house republicans" = oneal and his cronies on the take from Koch Industries.

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optimist 3 years, 1 month ago

Now that’s brilliant liberal logic. We shouldn't reduce the pay of the highest income earners working for the state because they will be lost to other research jobs. Meaning those doing research into medical treatments and producing the medications aren’t gouging the public? I thought that was the whole point behind the Democrat health care plan.

What about taxing the wealthy? I thought that was the way to get us out of deficits? Does this same logic not apply to the public sector? Won’t taxing the wealthiest higher cause them to take their money out of the country along with the jobs we all claim to covet? I for one find it difficult to keep the liberal ideology straight.

True fairness is when everyone shares in the cost. The private sector is suffering greatly with reduced wages and unemployment across the board. I think every state employee should be subject to whatever cost saving measures are enacted. Now that would be fair, crazy huh?

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

So what is the real argument here? Is it that anyone making over $100,000 is overpaid, and should therefore be taxed at a higher rate than they currently are? (and this pay reduction here really would be a de facto tax increase.)

Or is the argument the anyone who works for state is overpaid, merely because their paycheck happens to come from the state?

If it's the latter, I hope it's clear to any thinking person how arbitrary, and therefore almost certainly wrong, a conclusion that is.

If the logic is that people earning over $100,000 can afford higher taxes in order to help get the state out of its financial difficulties, why limit that to state employees? If everyone in the state who makes more the $100,000 had a tax increase, that increase wouldn't have to be anywhere near 7.5% to achieve the exact same result.

But we all know that this proposal is ideologically, not fiscally, based. That lawrenceguy40 supports it is ample evidence of that-- he's never posted anything here that isn't a logical trainwreck, but his ideology is always pure (hogwash.)

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lawrenceguy40 3 years, 1 month ago

Cancer research is important, but it should not be done on the backs of hard working taxpayers. There are plenty of pharmaceutical companies doing cancer research and that is where it should be done. Countless times I have heard some KU parasite researcher claim s/he could earn three times the salary in the private sector. They do not go though, proving they are either idiots or incompetent.

What about the majority of "research" done at KU? The guy who determined last week that if you are driving and very tired, you are less likely to fall asleep if you introduce an activity that uses the brain. Whoa, my 4 year old could have told you that. He brings me games to stop me falling asleep in my chair after dinner. And what about all the "global warming" trash?

The vast majority of funding for research at universities comes from our tax dollars. The vast majority of research at KU is useless and serves only to promote the liberal agenda. The sad thing is that my neighbors have to chose between eating or heating, just to pay their taxes so that these people can do their pet "research". You liberals fine with that?

Close it down!

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

You gotta love it when, in order to justify their right wing lunacy, conservatives post that cancer research is a waste of time.

Here's another news flash -- the state taxpayers won't see any of this "savings" because none of this savings belongs to state taxpayers.

This is a 7.5% pay cut for the sake of a 7.5% pay cut. The only benefit is the ideology.

It is the very definition of an old cliche-- I wonder, how many of you fools feel better now that you don't have a nose? You really showed your face, didn't you?

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ElGonzo 3 years, 1 month ago

Admittedly academicians do a poor job of letting the public know what they do all day. Most work in excess of 60 hours per week and have little time in their hand to waste time writing responses here. The majority of faculty raking in salaries in excess of $100k can easily find employment in the private sector with salaries in the $200 to $500k. That does not include yearly bonuses that range from 10 to 20 % and stocks in their highly profitable corporation.
These highly productive faculty remain in academia because they enjoy training others or pursuing research that will beneift many rather than a single corporation. While these faculty have gone without salary increases for two years the students they train have seen their starting salaries increase by $15 to $20k! The grants these faculty bring, many from private corporations, hire many employees in this area.
Finally keep in mind that the tax dollars paid by a low population state like Kansas can only cover a small fraction of the grant dollars brought into the state. So you are getting your tax dollars back and a lot more from high population states!

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Olympics 3 years, 1 month ago

The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.

During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/12/us-usa-taxes-corporations-idUSN1249465620080812

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Alceste 3 years, 1 month ago

There are a LOT of "fat cats" on the dole who do the "administrative work" of the Kansas Board of Regents. See for yourself:

2010 John Tompkins Board of Regents President/Chief Executive Off $165,528.31 2010 Diane Duffy Board of Regents Vice President $139,124.96 2010 Gary Alexander Board of Regents Vice President $138,375.12 2010 Blake Flanders Board of Regents Vice President $135,813.08 2010 Reginald Robinson Board of Regents Consultant $129,885.28 2010 Bradley Williams Board of Regents Executive Director of Kan-Ed $129,240.58 2010 Kip Peterson Board of Regents Dir of Govt Relations&Communic $101,396.88 2010 Julene Miller Board of Regents General Counsel $100,521.98 2009 Reginald Robinson Board of Regents President/Chief Executive Off $193,000.08 2009 Diane Duffy Board of Regents Vice President $139,124.96

http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovernment/SG100kEarners/tabid/1551/Default.aspx

And those are just them that rake in OVER $100k. What do these superior intellects do all day?

http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovernment/SGPayGrid/tabid/1553/Default.aspx should take you to the web site to view all staff pay within the World Class Kansas Board of Regents. What a joke of an operation.

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Keith Richards 3 years, 1 month ago

I believe a colleague of Peterson, Dr. Jeff Aube, also receives a comparable salary. However, Dr. Aube has been in the news for brining in some of Kansas's biggest science grants in history. If memory serves me correct, the total is probably close to $50 million over the course of his last 10 years at KU.

If this salary cut makes just one professor like this leave the state, we will lose much more than the $12 million dollar total that the salary cut will save.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?

Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them.....

nobody went to jail. Nobody, that is, except Bernie Madoff, a flamboyant and pathological celebrity con artist, whose victims happened to be other rich and famous people.

The rest of them, all of them, got off.

Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industry wide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted.

Their names by now are familiar to even the most casual Middle American news consumer: companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.

Most of these firms were directly involved in elaborate fraud and theft. Lehman Brothers hid billions in loans from its investors. Bank of America lied about billions in bonuses. Goldman Sachs failed to tell clients how it put together the born-to-lose toxic mortgage deals it was selling.

What's more, many of these companies had corporate chieftains whose actions cost investors billions — from AIG derivatives chief Joe Cassano, who assured investors they would not lose even "one dollar" just months before his unit imploded, to the $263 million in compensation that former Lehman chief Dick "The Gorilla" Fuld conveniently failed to disclose.

Yet not one of them has faced time behind bars.

Con't http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Education is the one industry that keeps going in hard times.

I say stop screwing with it and let it keep growing jobs within as well as preparing those to become new economic growth.

Hey Kansas legislators STOP giving out to large corporate welfare and feed the small business community instead. Cutting off the education community is dumb!

Unions,Schools and Social Security are not killing the economy it is Wall Street and their friends in the Beltway...

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gudpoynt 3 years, 1 month ago

1 ROI for society is education. Influx therein has proven a boon. Withdrawal therefrom has lead to a caustic waning. History concurs.

Please, regardless of your political disposition, let's first agree that education is essential, and the better we are able to educate our next generation, the better our generation is for doing so.

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Hoots 3 years, 1 month ago

Why is it people who are billed as intellegent don't understand the concept of broke? I want to take all the money out of their bank accounts and then tell them to give me $1,000 and see how they swing that. A bunch of idiots just like the ones in Wisconsin. I guess they think the car they drive will always go another 300 miles when it's on empty. Does having a government job make you stupid or do stupid people get hired for government jobs?

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pace 3 years, 1 month ago

The regents should come up with a plan of where to cut. They should have a better strategy than NO.

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das 3 years, 1 month ago

I'd gladly take a pay increase to $100,000 and gladly let them cut it by even 10%....even more...no sympathy here. People are very protective of their standard of living.

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conservative 3 years, 1 month ago

Brilliant liberal logic. Don't cut 12 million in pay because those people attracted 3 million in money that also came frome the taxpayers.

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lawrenceguy40 3 years, 1 month ago

Governor Brownback - remember this when appointing new regents in the next few weeks. There are people who want solutions to the budget crisis and there are obstructionists.

I hope the two fools quoted here have just ensured their quick departure from the Board.

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BigPrune 3 years, 1 month ago

1,500 X $8,108 = $12,162,000 in savings. Sometimes people have to bite the bullet. If they don't like it, fire them and hire someone to replace them at the lower wage. That's how the big corporations operate. Or, they could just fire them, and after a year, if the same person is still unemployed, offer them their job back with a 25% pay reduction. Again, this is how the big corporations operate. Must be nice to work for the government, huh?

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 1 month ago

And luckily, the money being paid to these "parasites" doesn't come from the state's general fund.

They merely have the misfortune, apparently, of working for a government agency. And in the case cited here, drawing $3 million in grants to this state.

Conservative rhetoric shouldn't substitute for facts. But since talking points are so much easier, why don't you kids just stick with those, and that $3 million in grants will be welcomed in another state that welcomes such "parasites".

If I had a $3 million parasite growing on me, I'd encourage it to stay. But then I'm not a so-called "conservative".

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JayhawksandHerd 3 years, 1 month ago

Indeed, money doesn't grow on trees. Perhaps the governor could remind Agribusiness of that fact, among other institutions.

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conservative 3 years, 1 month ago

Of course they object, doesn't everyone object when their pay is being cut. However the budget is economic reality, so the regents should make the decision on where they would rather see the cuts, either 7.5% across the board or keep the existing pay scale but lose 7.5% of the people.

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lawrenceguy40 3 years, 1 month ago

“The answer to our economic problems is getting intellectually smart people,”

But not smart enough to understand that money does not grow on trees. There seems to be no shortage of people wanting jobs at KU. Let them be rewarded for the amount of useful work they do. That would see much deeper salary cuts than 7.5%!

Hard working taxpayers can no longer afford the luxury of an underemployed liberal elite. Governor Brownback was elected to rid us of these parasites. I have faith that he will, despite the whining of the regents.

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