Topeka — The House Appropriations Committee on Monday endorsed Gov. Sam Brownback's higher education budget, but several committee members voiced disapproval about spending levels at public universities.
Committee Chair Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, asked why higher education couldn't take a 10 percent cut.
Rep. Ward Cassidy, R-St. Francis, who chaired the education subcommittee, said the committee felt the universities were doing a good job. He added, "The governor stressed not to touch higher education."
Brownback's budget essentially keeps higher education funding flat with several enhancements, including $10 million over two years to help build a medical education building at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City Kan.
The Appropriations Committee agreed with that recommendation which could set up a confrontation with the Senate because the Senate budget committee took that $10 million out of the budget.
Cassidy passed out an information sheet to committee members that showed a 1 percent cut to higher education would slice $7.3 million, which includes a total of $2.4 million from KU and KU Med.
But the memo states that, based on previous studies, "for every one percent the Legislature cuts higher education, there will be a $90 million negative impact on the Kansas economy."
The budget recommendation will next go to the full House for consideration.