Archive for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kansas Board of Regents reject 7.5% pay cut solution

February 20, 2011


— 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.


lawrenceguy40 6 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.

PugnaciousJayhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Money does not grow on trees but the problem here isn’t the researchers or the board of regents. The problem here is administrators like Jeff Vitter and his peers at other state universities.

Vitter has been going around talking to KU’s major donors offering them a vague proposition whereas they would pay up to a million dollars to Bain & Co. to allow for the consulting firm to develop a plan that would save KU 30-40 million dollars a year. These cost saving would according to Vitter be the equivalent of a donor giving 600-800 million to KU, or so the poor mans logic goes.

My question is this: if Vitter believes an east coast consulting firm can provide KU with 30-40 million a year in cost savings, why can’t he look through the school’s budget and make the appropriate changes himself?

It would appear to me that the board of regents could really help the state with it budget problems by firing ineffective leaders like KU’s current provost and chancellor.

gudpoynt 6 years, 1 month ago

the value of a society lies within the education of it's members.


question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

So, you are claiming that Dr. Blake Peterson, "a distinguished professor of medicinal chemistry" who "works on ongoing innovations in cancer vaccines and therapies for neurodegenerative disorders" is a "parasite"? You think that what he is doing is not "useful work"? That's astounding, and not an opinion that is likely to be held by very many people, but you leave us no choice but to take you at your word and believe that you really think that.

I doubt that Brownback would want to be within 100 miles of your words though. He may be conservative, but he's not stupid. You really believe that he is going to "rid us of" cancer researchers when he has proposed providing MORE money to KU's cancer research center? In your world does research do itself with no help from human beings? Maybe if you inform Sam that you will do the cancer research at half price he will "rid us" of Dr. Peterson and you can use your brilliant mind to get things done twice as fast.

Brian Laird 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, they can. The state sets base faculty pay rates based on the nine month salary of the individual faculty member. If that faculty member raises external funds, they can pay themselves in the summer from their external grants, but only at the rate based on academic year salary. Therefore, if the state cuts the base rate, this also cuts the rate at which one can pay summer salary.

Most of the funding for the university comes from either tuition or external grants through overhead return (the 46% "tax" the university places on external grants, ostensibly to fund research infrastructure). The percentage of the university budget coming from the state is about 24%.

true_patriot 6 years, 1 month ago

So you'd rather get rid of guys that bring millions of dollars of grants to the state and work on cures for cancer and other diseases in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporate welfare?

You may mean well, but what you propose actually plays right into the hands of the elites. Brownback was ostensibly elected to bring jobs to Kansas, and, ironically, to bring research and cutting edge biotechnology to Kansas - an effort that would be directly undercut by these irrational attacks on government and higher education.

The numbers show that the private sector, not state workers, is the real parasite. They take money out of the system in boom times while state workers pay is locked down. Then, when the private sector crashes the economy, it's used an excuse to cut state worker pay and employment to the bone and beyond.

conservative 6 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.

JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

Or we could start by ending all corporate subsidies and eliminating tax exemptions across the board (yes, for the churches as well). Just a thought.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Interesting comment Conservative.

Governor Brownback did not propose this suggested pay cut in his budget and has not said that he endorses it. Are you suggesting that his budget does not acknowledge "economic reality"? Do you believe that he is not as smart as the members of the Kansas House? I would have thought that it was the other way around, but it is interesting to hear opinions such as yours. Do you believe that Sam Brownback is a RINO?

JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Bob_Keeshan 6 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".

deec 6 years, 1 month ago

Private foundations and private businesses also fund grants.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Dr. Blake Peterson's Cancer research is "bogus"? That's an interesting opinion. Have you based that on your own cancer research? Please let us know how you are qualified to judge the legitimacy of Dr. Peterson's research.

Everyone else out there who believes that Dr. Blake Peterson's research on cancer is "bogus" please post your evidence. Then maybe we can drive that "parasite" off and hire Lawrenceguy40 to do the groundbreaking research that will finally eradicate cancer.

parrothead8 6 years, 1 month ago

You sure talk a lot, but I guarantee you have no clue about how hard the people you term "the liberal elite" are working every day. I guarantee you couldn't identify someone you would term "the liberal elite" if you walked by them on the street. I guarantee you have no idea how much people you term "the liberal elite" care about their country.

Nobody who goes into education does it for the money. Get a clue. Most university profs could make tons more money in the private sector. They're in it because they care about the future of our country...a future you apparently believe is measured only in 2011 dollars and cents.

voevoda 6 years, 1 month ago

lawrenceguy40, Why do you resent government employees and teachers, whose earnings are mostly very modest? They aren't the ones who created the financial mess. (Neither did President Obama; that happened under President Bush II.) They aren't the ones who are taking money from your pockets. Who is really at fault? The megarich, who have taken huge profits while feeding off government subsidies, shipping American jobs abroad, and paying less in taxes every year. Your anger is misplaced, lawrenceguy40.
The solution? Return to the tax structure of the Eisenhower years. Then there was enough money for the middle class, and for national highway-building, and for public schools, and for public universities.

JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

You're right...I'm more than happy to blame General Motors, Bank of America, and other corporations that were saved from the brink of collapse by my neighbors' taxes.

voevoda 6 years, 1 month ago

lawrenceguy40, Why do you think that I don't work hard and earn a decent living? And I don't whine about paying my fair share of taxes. Why don't you whine about the megarich paying not theirshare, when they got rich by ripping off the consumers (that is, the taxpayers)? Why do you defend them, while belittling hard-working folks?

BigPrune 6 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?

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Do you really believe that's how the big corporations operate? You honestly think that if they have an employee who is producing patentable research that could mean millions in profits they cut that employee's salary and tell him or her to shove off if he or she doesn't like it? You really believe that Dow Chemical Company would do that to their top researchers and let Bayer Corporation hire them? Could you even find a car dealer who would cut the commissions of his top salespeople and tell them to get lost if they aren't happy? Do you believe that the business would benefit from that kind of strategy? These are not rhetorical questions, so I invite you to answe themr. You can leave state employees out of it, since your statement is: "That's how the big corporations operate."

It would be fascinating to hear that there is someone who really thinks that's true about big corporations and that such a strategy would be logical.

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

Sprint did it in Kansas City a couple of times. Same goes for Garmin.

Just bringing reality to you, with facts. Let these people who can't handle the pay cut take a walk.

Keltazon 6 years, 1 month ago

Kind of a reverse penny-wise, pound foolish argument there. In Dr. Peterson's case: Save $8,000 (by your calculation - not sure where the number came from) to lose over a million dollars of funding that would be used for the infrastructure at KU. Yep.....let the back door slapped him on the backside when he walks out the door with his grant money to another institution/state that isn't going to nickel and dime him. KU will find another way to keep the lights on.

Oh...and Sprint and Garmin are not an equivalent comparison. Those companies were funding the research done by those who "walked". That was out of the company pockets. This situation? Not so clear-cut. It might apply more to the newly-hired assistant professor whose funding mostly comes from the university itself, but their salaries definitely do not meet that $100,000 threshold.

conservative 6 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.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Brilliant logic. According to the article, Dr. Blake Peterson has received 3 million in grants. You then proceed as if that were the only return on "12 million in pay." Do you believe that Dr. Peterson's salary is 12 million dollars? You can easily look it up. Do you believe that not one of the 1,500 other employees generates any grant money? You can look that up. Are you simply blowing hot air? You don't need to look that one up. I think you know the answer.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry Conservative. I see that I failed to credit the true brilliance of your comment, which implies not that Dr. Peterson's salary is 12 Million dollars but that 7.5% of Dr. Peterson's salary is 12 million dollars. That's even more convincing. You should pass your comment on to the governor's office. Make sure to ask Sam to let the public know of your wisdom.

das 6 years, 1 month ago

I'd gladly take a pay increase to $100,000 and gladly let them cut it by even 10%....even sympathy here. People are very protective of their standard of living.

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

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

LogicMan 6 years, 1 month ago

Didn't they cut $100 million over the last two years? And because of inflation of health care, energy, and other costs, and reduced earnings on endowments I'm sure the cuts continue behind the scenes.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, total spending in FY 2010 was $37.7 million higher than in FY 2008. You can see spending by university and the Regents at

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.

LogicMan 6 years, 1 month ago

Interesting, but "spending" isn't the issue, it's State funds being appropriated to the Regents and whether to cut them more.

"Spending" would include a lot of non-state appropriated tax money such as tuition, fees, research, endowment earnings, for example, and maybe sports revenues.

I think the LJW wrote some time ago that the State only provides 23% or so of the total funds at KU, for example. And those funds go mostly for salaries.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 1 month ago

In this case, 'spending' and state funds appropriated are one and the same. The numbers posted on and referenced above come from the Kansas Division of the Budget and represent state dollars spent. Each university certainly spends a great deal more as you indicated. I should have specificied that the numers reflect spending of just state appropriated dollars.

Hoots 6 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?

pace 6 years, 1 month ago

It is not stupid to fight for the right to unionize. Workers in America died fighting both giant corporations and government for the right to unionize. I am for cuts, a lot of the teachers are willing to accept major cuts, but the rub is, the union busting provisos. With the cuts in services, the killing of long standing programs, with the rules and regulations review moved from KDHE to a small Governor appointed committee. We will we will watch our pay get cut as we watch large TAX cuts going to the industries and wealthy. The tax money flowing to economic adventurers. What is stupid is thinking tax cuts will make jobs, it will make for richer corporate heads. We need to speak up when we lose eduction so some oil company can buy tax free jets on our money.

question4u 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes, it's now official, since Hoots has said it. The state of Kansas is "broke." Its gas tank is empty. It's highest paid researchers are "idiots."

So please all of you businesses that might have been contemplating a move to Kansas, come and save us from our poverty. You won't get good elementary schools. Our high schools are ranked 46th in the country by US & World News. The professors who will train the engineers and scientists that you'll employ are idiots, but certainly you can see why it is to your advantage to come to Kansas. If you can't find enough qualified workers, don't worry. Hoots can do any job, from computer analyst to genetic engineer, at half the going rate.

Kansas: the land of empty gas tanks.

gudpoynt 6 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.

Richard Heckler 6 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...

Richard Heckler 6 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.


Alceste 6 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

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

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"What do these superior intellects do all day?"

That's a good question. And if legislators want to cut the pay of state workers, looking at what they do, and whether it warrants the salary they are paid is perfectly legitimate.

But just assuming that because someone works for the state that they are automatically overpaid is ideologically based arbitrariness.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

..and I concur that "...assuming that because someone works for the state that they are automatically overpaid is ideologically based arbitrariness...".

However, there is no parity of any sort working Kansas Civil Service, from the unctuous process of being given an "un-classified" position, to, anymore, even obtaining a classified slot. The process for both within "the University Family" is not only unctuous. It is specious.

Kansas Civil Service was killed years back, even before Graves really took it down. We have new hires, brought in for the cheapest pay step possible being directed to produce exactly as much work as those who have been occupying the same seat for 30 years; are at the end of the "step ladder" and are R.O.A.D. Warriors (Retired On Active Duty). The entire "system", from top to bottom is worthless and until it is corrected, things are just going to get worse in Kansas.

It is a travesty that the University of Kansas classified staff were permitted to seperate from State Civil Service. There is no solidarity amongst public sector workers: Teachers don't support anybody but themselves (grade school, middle school, and high school staff) when, in reality, they could throw their hefty weight to support state workers. Again, sometimes you have to burn the village to save the village. Maybe the sting of that pay CUT will get people off their duff and organize rather than mourn.

I'm sure, too, boz, you understand when I call board of regents workers as "superior intellect", I am doing so to insult: They're about as "superior" as margarine is over butter.

Olympics 6 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.

ElGonzo 6 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!

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

MY question was not about the "academicians" who are mired in mediocrity and have no clue what real work is all about.

MY question was what to those fat cat board of regents staff people do all day for the kind of money they're getting.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"MY question was not about the "academicians" who are mired in mediocrity and have no clue what real work is all about."

Specifically, who are these people? And how do you know they are mediocre?

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

The LJWorld forum rules prevent from posting names and specific situations. I'd love to do it, however.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

I could probably name a few individual professors that I didn't think were particularly good at their jobs, too. (and I've seen plenty of well-paid folks in the private sector who weren't all that good, either.)

But that doesn't mean that every academic isn't doing their job, and it most certainly doesn't justify across the board cuts based on a very narrowly based prejudice.

voevoda 6 years, 1 month ago

The managers of equivalent corporations (in budget, employee numbers, customer numbers) in the private sector earn salaries a lot higher than the Regents do, Alceste. Even when they run the corporations into bankruptcy and ship the jobs abroad. So complain first about the overpaid fatcats who created the financial meltdown in the first place. Raise their taxes by 7.5% first. Then come after government employees if there's still a budget deficit. But there won't be.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

I post all the time about Corporate Welfare. The clowns who choose to work for the state do so for the trade off in just how simplistic the work day really is and the fact they can, for the most part, fly under the radar; pocket the cash; blah, blah, blah. I'm referring to these pieces of tripe that are making "...the big money....". And for me....anything over $70k is big money.

Most don't have the intenstinal fortitude to enter the private sector anyway.

Also, I do not accept the argument that these dopes work out of an "altruisitc nature". Nah....most knew somebody; eased into an easy, high paying job; and there they sit. We deserve what we get.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Why, yes, we should definitely base all our actions on your overgeneralized prejudices.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

I own a certain, wanton contempt for academia and all things associated with it. This contempt only grows as I discover more and more just how insidious it is here in Lawrence (we're not discussing anywhere but here for the moment). However, my statement "Nah....most knew somebody; eased into an easy, high paying job; and there they sit. We deserve what we get...." is not just anecdotal, but is based on 3d experience and actual recordings. And, again, I'm referring primarily to the un-classifed, appointee, blah, blah, blah types; NOT the run of the mill person just trying to make ends meet.

Get me "immunity" and I'll produce names, dates, departments (all departments, by the way going from A through Z inclusive), how "family connections" and other "business connections" dictated being hired as oppossed to be being the best qualified. God Bless the child that's got his own and, fortunate for Alceste, I got me mines when the getting was good....and it tweren't because I know somebody or have "family connections".

Bob_Keeshan 6 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?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 1 month ago

Fine with your anecdotes that have no basis in fact?

Sure. Are you fine without a nose?

jafs 6 years, 1 month ago

Good point.

It's a bit of a problem, isn't it?

aequitas 6 years, 1 month ago

There are not 'plenty' of big pharma companies doing the kind of basic cancer research done on the University level. That is a fact.

I wish no ill will upon anyone but perhaps your persepctive would change if you developed cancer and your survival relied upon one of many anti-cancer drugs developed at KU. Perhaps Nanotax.

But of course I don't expect a response to any of this sigh. Just more angry rhetoric driven rambling blaming others for your and your neighbors woes.

JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

If your neighbors have to choose between "eating and heating," perhaps they should have worked harder and applied themselves more rigorously. See? I can use conservative logic as well.

The bottom line is the top priority of private industry. Period. That's all well and good until you start treating my health as a commodity. Personally, I would much rather trust one of these "parasites" working for a modest salary in the hopes of benefiting society as a whole than someone whose only motive is the profit factor.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 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.)

optimist 6 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?

avoice 6 years, 1 month ago

You're right, optimist. They should do something very simple, like increase the income tax rate on these highly-paid public servants (along with the private sector employees making these big bucks). Then the state can take all that tax revenue and give it back to the high income earners on their payroll. Yes, that would be a much simpler system than reducing their pay in the first place.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

These state workers are already paying state income taxes. Increasing that tax rate would be a rather simple matter.

voevoda 6 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?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

"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? "

The argument against it is that it wouldn't be "fair." It would also be argued that if wealthy people have to pay more taxes, they'll get mad and quit working.

Dave Trabert 6 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

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.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Are these the figures you're referring to? I followed your link, and these are the outlays for the Board of Regents that were listed there. According to this line, the last increase was for 2008, and it's decreased ever since. For 2010, it had decreased to nearly the same amount in 2007, the year before the last increase. I expect that for 2011 it'll be even lower.

2005-- $188,454,068.00
2006-- $200,442,845.00
2007-- $223,421,160.00
2008-- $238,206,389.00
2009-- $236,367,401.00
2010-- $225,342,505.00

Dave Trabert 6 years, 1 month ago

Those are just the figures for the Regents, not the whole system. Each university and their affiliated entities are listed separately. The total for FY 2010 was $2.3 billion. Gov. Brownback's budget says Regents-only for FY 2010 is $238.9 million and recommends $235.7 million for FY 2012.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 1 month ago

This is a good thing. For one, it means there are more students. For another, it means more private grants and fellowships.

If you are using total spending to try and demonstrate something bad, then you are using a red herring. And you know it.

Sounds like you are telling the Regents to accept fewer students and to bring fewer private dollars into the economy. Now there's an economic growth idear...

Dave Trabert 6 years, 1 month ago

See reply above regarding Regents vs. full system allocation of state money.

An earlier commenter thought total state aid was reduced by $100 million over the last two years. I was pointing out that it had actually increased over the last two years. I called it spending because that's how the State views it (spending of state dollars).

Speaking of students, comparison of several Governors' budget reports over the years shows that total enrollment increased from 81,426 in 2000 to 93,305 in 2010 (+14.6%). At the same time, total state spending on the Regents system increased from $1.451 billion to $2.258 billion (+55.6%).

Phillbert 6 years, 1 month ago

You're erroneously counting tuition, research grants, stimulus dollars and every other other source of money as "state spending."

If the state cut every tax dollar of funding and the universities made up for it with tuition increases would you say that "state spending" on education was flat?

From the budget director's website: Proposed State General Fund spending for all universities in FY 2009: $664,569,684 Proposed State General Fund spending in FY 2011: $578,536,853

BigPrune 6 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.

JayhawksandHerd 6 years, 1 month ago

Why should personal profit be the sole criterion for determining success?

BigPrune 6 years, 1 month ago

I keep reading the "threat" that these folks will walk. That doesn't make for a good employee always threatening to leave or else. Let 'em walk, or take the pay cut and have a job. Since they aren't doing it for the money anyway, then they shouldn't have a problem with it should they?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

There is no threat, just a statement of fact.

Many government employees do their jobs for less than what they could get in the private sector for a combination of reasons outside of the size of the their paycheck. But they still have to pay the same bills as everyone else. If folks like you who consider state workers worthless simply because they work for the state succeed in drastically reducing their salaries and benefits, they likely will look elsewhere, just as you would.

But I'm sure that bit of reality won't have any effect on your embrace of hypocrisy.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

Let them leave. Make some room for the new blood, eh? "We've never done it that way". We're mired in "We've ALWAYS done it THIS way" around here and that is why Lawrence is such a backwater, hillbilly operation. shrug

Ken Lewis 6 years, 1 month ago

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

Bob_Keeshan 6 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.

Dave Trabert 6 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?

Bob_Keeshan 6 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.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 1 month ago

I take it you are declining my offer to discuss this with you in person and in public. Nice try, but your verbal bullying won't work. You want to talk, let's talk. In person. In public. You can pick your own audience and stack the deck however you want. All you have to do is have the courage to defend your statements in public so others can decide for themselves whether either of us is dealing straight.

Maybe the first thing we can start with is a review of state budgets, school budgets and others to show how governments can say they cut their budgets but still increased their spending. There are lots of examples.

Bob_Keeshan 6 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.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

Ok, Captain Kanga: Why does Kansas....a dinky little state smack dab in the middle of nowhere require so many "Regents' Institutions"?? Particularly in today's times? Shut down at least 1/2 of these jerk water outfits; consolidate; and move forward.

The "college degree" of today has little value in the final analysis; particularly when one examines the cost of the degree compared to yesteryear.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 1 month ago

And JoeFriday is what is known as an internet sock. Again, not very original.

Alceste 6 years, 1 month ago

Noticed how you failed to opine on closing down the ever so numerous and useless "Regents' Institutions" here in Kansas....a backwater, located in the Middle of Nowhere, filled with hillbilly Redneckers "state". hahahahahahahahaha.....what joke....!!

remember_username 6 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.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.