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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Brownback to tour in support of his higher education budget

April 15, 2013, 3:10 p.m. Updated April 15, 2013, 4:05 p.m.

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday announced that he will hit the road next week to defend his higher education budget proposal against cuts offered by his fellow Republicans in the Legislature.

Brownback said funding to Kansas universities, community colleges and technical schools represents a core responsibility of the state "that we must protect."

He added, "My proposed two-year budget holds higher education harmless and includes targeted funding important to our state’s economic growth.

"I have challenged education leaders to focus their schools on improving student results. It is important we keep state funding level."

While Brownback has recommended continuation of the current level of funding for the next fiscal year, the House has proposed an across-the-board cut of 4 percent, or $29.2 million, while the Senate recommended a 2 percent cut.

In addition, Brownback's budget plan provides $10 million over two years to jumpstart construction of a health education building at Kansas University Medical Center.

Right before the Legislature took a month-long break, it appeared that House and Senate budget negotiators were nearing Brownback's position, only to pull back. The budget-writing committees return later this month and the full Legislature meets for the wrap-up session starting on May 8.

Brownback's tour to emphasize higher education funding will start Monday, April 22 at Wichita State University and Butler Community College.

He will visit Washburn University and Washburn Institute of Technology in Topeka on April 23; Pittsburg State University, April 24; Kansas University School of Medicine and the Kansas City, Kan. Community College on April 25; Emporia State University on April 26; and Kansas State University on May 6.

Brownback also said the Legislature needs to prioritize funding of the Career and Technology Education program, which is aimed at helping students get marketable skills when they enter the workforce.

"Cutting funding for the community and technical colleges that support the CTE program would hinder students from obtaining industry-recognized credentials by the time they graduate from high school and diminish the workforce pool for businesses,” Brownback said.

The issue of higher education funding will be tied closely to tax discussions in the Legislature. Brownback wants to keep in place the 6.3 percent state sales tax rate, which was supposed to decrease to 5.7 percent on July 1. The Senate has agreed to that position, but not the House.

Brownback has said the sales tax rate needs to be kept higher to help balance the budget, but House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said that was a false argument.

"Kansans deserve to know that Gov. Brownback's sales tax hike is not being offered to pay for higher education. It is paying for massive tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations," Davis said.

Davis added, "Further, a sales tax hike is not a solution — it's a stall tactic. Even if Gov. Brownback does raise the sales tax, Kansas will still face a $781 million deficit by 2018 as a result of his income tax cuts."

Last year, Brownback signed into law cuts in state income tax rates, eliminating income taxes for the owners of nearly 200,000 businesses and doing away with tax credits designed to help low-income Kansans. Brownback has said the income tax cuts will boost the economy while Democrats say the cuts will benefit mostly the wealthy at the expense of the poor and funding of crucial state services, such as education.

Comments

KSManimal 1 year ago

"Cutting funding for the community and technical colleges that support the CTE program would hinder students from obtaining industry-recognized credentials by the time they graduate from high school and diminish the workforce pool for businesses,” Brownback said.

Gee, Sam....if businesses want an educated, skilled workforce...a workforce produced by our public educational system...how about we ask those businesses to pony up some income taxes to pay for it?

btw, Sam, you forgot to tow the party line about how all private businesses build themselves without any help from government. Prepare to bear the wrath of your Koch masters.....

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Boston_Corbett 1 year ago

Dave Trabert once again shows his intent to not discuss this issue with any intellectual honesty. Either that or he is just ignorant of state budgeting and accounting by suggesting that "restricted fee" and "tuition" should be budgeted to offset state support. I will let you chose which one.

1) "restricted fees" is just that. Fees that are restricted (frequently by law or contract) from general use because of the source of money. Including: Dormitory Fees, Student Health Fees, laboratory fees, amounts received by researchers and the university for completton of federal grants, funds maintained to replay bond issues, including reserves for capital improvements and maintenance, insurance of bonded projects, etc etc etc. The funds are received for purposes that are not directly instructional purposes, and can not be spent otherwise. Does he want Dorm fees to pay for a professors Salary? Does he want to violate federal law by stealing from a federal grant to pay for the same. Does he want to violate the law by stealing from income pledged for a bonded project?
This is the same hokum that Trabert and his friends have used in discussing public education budgets and restricted fees in school district budgets. The suggestion that these funds be raided/used for general instructional purposes in many cases are clearly illegal by law or contract. In other cases, they would simply not be good stewardship or good business practices.

But,. boy oh boy, aren't they fun to type up and spread around in pursuit of blowing smoke up everybody's arses. It doesn't matter to him that it is illegal, because it just sounds good.

2) Tuition. Again, Trabert is being pretty cute in his information. Tuition balances at universities vary widely throughout the calendar year, since it is collected largely in two times in front of each semester. And tuition is collected several months in advance of the providing of educational services. At those points, tuition balances looks wildly high, but has been committed to be spent over the ongoing months. His suggestion is for the universities to steal from next year's students to pay for this year's faculty salaries. Some would call that fraud. I would use the same term to describe Mr. Trabert's discussion of higher education financing. He is either being intentionally misleading, or he is an idiot. I will let you choose.

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Nani700 1 year ago

So is Ft. Hays just out of the loop?

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UneasyRider 1 year ago

Without Dave we would never know what the Koch's intend for Brownback and his toadies to rant about. Dave has never been one to let facts get in his way. He knows what the wanted conclusions are, so he makes sure to provide "facts" to "prove" the Koch's previously determined conclusion

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Paul R Getto 1 year ago

Thanks, Dave. We appreciate you clarifying all of this for the Sheeple. What would we do without your perspicacity?

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Dave Trabert 1 year ago

A new 10-year comparison of state aid, university spending and tuition increases is now available at http://www.kansaspolicy.org/researchcenters/education/studies/104135.aspx

This study looks at the six state-funded universities - KU, K-State, Wichita State, Emporia State, Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State. State funding was flat between 2002 and 2012, while undergraduate tuition increased 137%, inflation rose 25% and FTE enrollment increased 12%.

Tuition and fees at KU increased 194% and enrollment was up 1.8%.

State aid to the entire Regents system, which includes KU Med Center, K-State Veterinary Center, K-State Extension Service and the Board of Regents is up 5%.

University officials often site a lack of state funding as the cause of tuition increases, while some legislators point to large tuition increases as rationale for funding decisions. This ‘chicken-and-egg’ debate may well come down to a matter of perspective.

One of the interesting facts we discovered is that those six universities had a $96 million cash reserve increase in their General Fees funds, which is tuition. That means they collected $96 million more in tuition than they spent out of that fund over the last ten years. They also had a $152 million cash reserve increase in their Restricted Fees funds. Universities could absorb a small reduction in state aid by using a portion of those cash reserve buildups from prior years' tuition and fees that weren't spent.

We also found that Institutional Support, which according to Board of Regents reports is basically administrative spending, increased 78% - or a little more than three times inflation.

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UneasyRider 1 year ago

Bet Brownback will be on road to his first stop Friday so he will not be able to greet Obama at KU.

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year ago

There's only one question that needs to be asked at each of these stops. It's a simple yes or no question, so it should be a short conversation.

When his partisans in the legislature send him a budget that cuts higher education, will he sign it? Yes or no?

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Paul Geisler 1 year ago

What a bunch of phony baloney from Gov. Brownslack! Orchestrating cuts to K-12 & Higher Ed via the Republican-led legislature and then saying on national TV that he's done all this wonderful (wacky) tax stuff in Kansas without having to make any funding cuts to education was an outright lie! And since he doesn't agree with the ruling in January from the judicial panel who confirmed what is sufficient State funding for education he wants to strip them of their authority and leave it up the State legislators! And now he wants to do a higher-ed tour in Kansas to garner support for his budget plan but he doesn't even have the guts to come to Lawrence to speak at the University of Kansas! Guess this dark spiritual area is too much for him to handle!

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nugget 1 year ago

The emperor has no clothes.

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tolawdjk 1 year ago

One tech school, two community colleges and nothing "west" of Wichita.

It's not that he can't claim he doesn't have time given that its taking about a month and a half to do this circuit.

A strong argument could be made that the people he needs to sway to his way of thinking are west of the I-35 line and he's seeminging purposely avoiding them. I mean if you are hitting KC with two schools on one day, one would think that hitting Hays in the morning would allow Barton or Colby in the afternoon.

That's nine schools and not one west of I-35. There is a message in that.

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chootspa 1 year ago

Gosh - who could have predicted that a bunch of extremists would be so extreme? I'd give the guv props for standing up for higher education if his PAC weren't responsible for getting all those tea partiers in office in the first place. Now he's just busy posing as "good cop" and hoping his approval numbers rise a little.

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tomatogrower 1 year ago

Oh here we go again. It's not his fault, it's the legislators fault. Did they know they were going to be the fall guys? Did they sign up for this when Brownie got them elected? Hey, we aren't going to let the people of Kansas forget what you have done, Brownie. Be ready to leave office in less than 2 years. Start packing now.

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autie 1 year ago

You see, here we are in the first turn before the back stretch. He gets the cut and slash ball rolling with the unsustainable tax cuts and now he is got the gall to jump out there to 'hold harmless'. Trying to make himself look like the hero...he can save the day.

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voevoda 1 year ago

If Gov. Brownback wants to protect higher education from the depredations of the state legislature, why is he going "on the road"? I'm not against his visiting campuses, but universities aren't the ones who are calling for cuts to higher education. Is he planning to bring the nay-saying representatives (all from his own party) along on the trip in hopes of convincing them that higher education is a worthwhile investment?

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