Archive for Friday, March 11, 2011

Democrats: Governor trying to take over Kansas Bioscience Authority; Brownback denies accusation

March 11, 2011, 2:12 p.m. Updated March 11, 2011, 3:53 p.m.


— Democratic legislative leaders on Friday accused Gov. Sam Brownback of trying to take over the Kansas Bioscience Authority.

“It is nothing more than a blatant power grab,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka.

“The administration wants to undermine the Bioscience Authority, and it couldn’t come at a worse time,” Hensley said.

He said Brownback, a Republican, was behind hearings by Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, over salaries for the KBA’s president and chief executive officer Tom Thornton and other employees.

Hensley described Wagle’s probe as a “witch hunt.”

Hensley said Brownback was also behind a Senate bill that would place his Cabinet officials in charge of the KBA.

“It’s an independent group that shouldn’t be under the thumb of the governor,” he said.

Asked whether he was trying to take over the KBA, Brownback said, “That’s not true. I have plenty of my own problems to deal with.”

But Brownback indicated support for Wagle’s hearings.

“I always think hearings are a helpful thing,” he said.

The KBA, formed in 2004, is responsible for investing $581 million in state revenue to increase the bioscience industry in Kansas.

Sen. Wagle has criticized the size of Thornton’s salary and expenses. His annual salary is $265,000, and he received a $100,000 bonus last year. Another $43,000 is spent on insurance and retirement benefits.

But Thornton’s supporters say his salary is in line with officials running similar enterprises.

House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said Thornton’s leadership was a big factor in Kansas winning a national competition to get the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which is to be built in Manhattan.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, praised both the KBA and Thornton. Morris said he had 100 percent confidence in Thornton.


Floyd Craig 7 years, 1 month ago

i do think they got the worng man for the govenor for kansas this state is a total wreck now

geekin_topekan 7 years, 1 month ago

But he loves the CHrist Jesus and will balance the budget by putting everyone in jail, employ the super rich to save me and tell sick people to stay healthier next time.

persevering_gal 7 years, 1 month ago

I couldn't agree with you more...even if the acquisitions turn out to be false.

nativeson 7 years, 1 month ago

KBA is accountable to the taxpayer like any other quasi-government organization funded by tax dollars. Legislators have a right and a responsibility to hold them accountable.

newmath 7 years, 1 month ago

Yet another example about the consolidation of power into the Governors office. Might as well call it a dictatorship

Jan Rolls 7 years, 1 month ago

One thing fo sure this guy will go down as the worst in Kansas history. He has done more damage in just a couple of months than others of both parties did combined. He is being ridiculed around the country.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 1 month ago

Just one more way the Governor is showing his commitment to jobs.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

Are these politicians only ticked off because this investigation threatens their future high wage employment opportunity after they leave office? It makes me wonder. The KBA needs to be held accountable. If there wasn't something to hide, then why are these politicians speaking out against an investigation? If there wasn't anything wrong, then surely they wouldn't be griping. I'm curious too, since most of the complainers are democrats. I thought democrats want transparency. Oh, that's right, I keep forgetting, democrats only want people to do as they say, not as they do. Typical.

susieparker 7 years, 1 month ago

How do you know that? Are you inside? I think you might find out differently very soon.

barlowtl 7 years, 1 month ago

He is just getting started. Penn is trying to cut Univ. funding in half, Michigan just voted to give the Gov power to take over city governments & appoint anyone he wants, disbanding any elected officials government. New Hampshire is refusing to let College students residing in their state vote. Wisconsin had no debt till the Gov gave huge tax breaks to industries in same amount of the now current debt. It's time we noticed that our pocket is being picked.

Olympics 7 years, 1 month ago

"Brownback" and "bioscience" two words that just seem perfect together. I can't wait for the important breakthroughs using Intelligent Design/Creation Science.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

Now why would he be advocating "Intelligent Design/Creation Science? Last I checked Catholics believe in evolution.

Olympics 7 years, 1 month ago

In his own words (and as we shall see, in deeds), he sounds like a creationist/ID supporter.

Olympics 7 years, 1 month ago

Yes, the Catholic church does support evolution as the expression of god's plan and most scientists (catholic and non-catholics) are fine with this. However, Sam departs from the church on this point. Read the link I attached.

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

I don't think Sam departed from the church and his letter seems quite reasonable. He basically said he didn't think man came along out of evolutionary luck, but something divine was involved in our creation of why we are who we are.

Katara 7 years, 1 month ago

Asked whether he was trying to take over the KBA, Brownback said, “That's not true. I have plenty of my own problems to deal with.” ~~~~~~~~ What an odd response. Not "I have plenty of work to do as Governor" or "I'm too busy trying to balance the budget". It's plenty of his problems to deal with.

Grump 7 years, 1 month ago

He can change it to the Kansas Bible Authority and appoint some his cronies with no government experience as management at even higher salaries.

Kyle Reed 7 years, 1 month ago

Wait...let me get this straight.

A Republican is making waves about a president and CEO's salary and the Democrats are telling them us it's none of his business because “It's an independent group that shouldn't be under the thumb of the governor"?

Am I the only one that finds any irony in this whole scenario?

Jimo 7 years, 1 month ago

The day this president and CEO makes a salary equal to 1/100th of Brownback's top sources of bribes is the day irony arrives.

Until then, we have a GOP determined to drive an important scientific research community and significant economic contributor out of the state.

Might I suggest the Obama Administration accept that Kansas doesn't want federal spending and stop sending the billions to Kansas, letting the state sink into oblivion? I am positive that another state with a competent gov't would be happy to accept funding and get busy with work instead of playing games.

whatupdown 7 years, 1 month ago

The Republicans don't want you to have heath care but they shure want you to sign your organ donor card. They want the poor/lower mid to die younger and not collect SS or spend any medicare/medicaid funds, also they don't want to have to waite an longer to see the doctor as they would with many more people insured. Gotta love those greedy selfish Republicans, they shure love stupid voters

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 1 month ago

"“I always think hearings are a helpful thing,” he said."

Spoken like a true small government conservative.

wastewatcher 7 years, 1 month ago

I find it ironic that the Dems are accusing Governor Sam of trying to do what Sebelius had already done Look at nthe record and you will see that ULTRA LIBERAL Sebelius was meddling in the Bioscience Authority from day one. Governor Sam has a long way to go to approach her doings.

nativeson 7 years, 1 month ago

The Sebelius administration went through a similar process to dismantle KTEC. It was appropriate given a lack of legislative oversight of taxpayer dollars.

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