Archive for Saturday, June 8, 2013

Brownback weighs decision on higher ed cuts

June 8, 2013


— Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday that he’s reviewing “all options” for lessening cuts in higher education spending approved by Kansas legislators, but his choices appear to be limited.

Brownback acknowledged that he is not sure that he can use the governor’s power to veto individual line-items in budget legislation to eliminate just the reductions in state funding from lawmakers for public universities, community colleges and technical colleges. Brownback had wanted to maintain current funding for each of the next two fiscal years, starting in July.

A bill containing a budget of more than $14 billion for each of the next two fiscal years was delivered to the governor Thursday by legislators, and Brownback has until June 16 to decide whether to sign it, veto the entire measure or veto individual items.

“We’re going to be looking at what all options are (available),” Brownback said. “That’s what we’re analyzing, what’s available for line item vetoes and what impact that has, if there is a line item veto.”

Legislators approved a 1.5 percent cut in state operating funds for the universities for each of the next two fiscal years, as well as a 1.5 percent reduction in funding for community and technical colleges for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014.

But state Board of Regents members have said the cuts are deeper than they appear because lawmakers also reduced the state funds available for salaries. They said the higher education system is losing a total of nearly $33 million in state funds over the next two fiscal years.

But the Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff said Friday that the budget is written so that the reductions aren’t separated from other spending for each university or for the Board of Regents.

That means if Brownback wants to eliminate the cuts, he’ll have to veto an institution’s full state funding — forcing legislators to pass additional budget legislation when their only remaining business scheduled is a brief, formal adjournment ceremony June 20. Another option would be to ask lawmakers next year to pass a supplemental funding bill, though they’ve not done that for several years.

Brownback said he and his staff haven’t yet had a chance to fully review the 553-page budget measure.

“We’re really looking at it on a line-by-line basis,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can, looking at the budget.”


Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Sadly for the governor, there is no "good" choice available to him. I am not confident that this legislature would do anything if the governor vetoed the entire budget for the Regents institutions. I can readily envision a scenario in which these legislators would shrug their shoulders, both fail to override the veto and refuse to pass new budget legislation, and allow the universities, technical schools, and community colleges to be shuttered for the next year.

Then some of them may try to run on their record of reducing government spending and holding state government accountable to live within its means.

I should be less cynical. Today, however, I am not less cynical.

Lane Signal 1 year, 9 months ago

I think I'm more cynical than you. I think our esteemed governor is trying to look like a champion of higher education while cutting funding to the bone and claiming he has no choice. I also think failing to veto this measure is an endorsement of the policy. We should not let the legislature have what they want because they seem crazy enough to go to bizarre extremes. We should challenge them to take those positions and see how long they stay in office. Brownie is getting just what he wants. He gets to act like a good guy for education then he gets to slice more out of the budget and give more tax breaks to the rich. He gets to have his cake and eat it too.

jayhawklawrence 1 year, 9 months ago

Exactly. They know that Kansas elected Sebelius because of education.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Kochs would rather have an uneducated, desperate work force with few options.

Like Romney, their dream is that our country will be like China.

question4u 1 year, 9 months ago

"Brownback had wanted to maintain current funding for each of the next two fiscal years, starting in July."

Not exactly. The correct sentence should be: Brownback had SAID that he wanted to maintain current funding for each of the next two fiscal years, starting in July.

As soon as he announced that he would be touring universities to advocate against cuts instead of talking to the Legislature the outcome was clear: PR for Brownback and cuts for universities.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Brown can and should veto the entire budget. If he can't do it line by line, he should throw out the whole thing.

wastewatcher 1 year, 9 months ago

Regents are using magic math by claiming that salary increases that have not granted or paid results in a cut of state funding. But they like the leaders of the schools continue to whine and raise tuition instead of living within their means as the rest of us do. Also notice that KU athletics budget is increasing by 7 plus percent. And we all know that thet get a lot of their expenses paid for by the school. It is time for a complete review of each schools spending, not only for "legal" issues but also for priorities and prudence in these difficult times.

Lane Signal 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd be a little more sympathetic to this position if the governor and the legislature were actually asking for austerity and sacrifice from all income groups. They want to tighten all the belts except those of the super rich and big corporations. These guys are on the vanguard of wealth redistribution. Brownie and his cronies don't think the rich have enough of the money yet. They want the rich to have all the money. These may be "difficult times" for middle and lower income Kansans but the Koch's and their ilk are laughing all the way to the bank. I would also remind you that as the cost of a college education grows, the gap between rich and poor will grow with it. If the poor and middle cannot afford college, then the rich will be the only ones who get a college education.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Times are not difficult for the Kochs. And to Brownback that is all that matters.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Do you have any idea how many years it has been since KU made any money available for merit or cost of living increases?

Do you know how many jobs have been cut or lost through attrition and not replaced - yet the employees have the SAME AMOUNT OF WORK to do?

Do you know how poor morale is? How many people want to leave the university and how hard it is to recruit people to work there? We just went through three rounds of hiring and got NO APPLICANTS who met the minimum requirements for the positions, and finally hired two who had the wrong qualifications.

Nobody wants to come to work at KU. Lousy pay, no security, no future.

Kontum1972 1 year, 9 months ago

what kind of name is last name is Brownback?

sounds more like a horse breed or insect breed.....e.g. brownback beetle.


Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Really, Kontum1972? Can you find nothing to criticize the governor for in terms of policy direction or administration, so you have to resort to making fun of his name? That is not a constructive contribution to any discussion.

Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

Brownback needs to veto the whole thing.

If he doesn't, he proves he's lying about his support of higher education.

From a purely economic perspective, it's insane to undermine institutions that bring many millions of dollars of out of state money into Kansas - every single year.

I simply don't believe him when he says he supports education and his hands are tied.


Eileen Jones 1 year, 9 months ago

KU has already been downgraded year after year because they have too many classes that are taught by STUDENTS.

This is only going to get worse.

Way to destroy a once-fine institution that took many decades to build up - in less than a decade.

del888 1 year, 9 months ago

You can contact to governor at: Office of the Governor

Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S Toll Free: 877-KSWORKS (877-579-6757) Topeka, KS 66612-1590 Local: 785-296-3232 For the Hearing Impaired: 800-766-3777

Trumbull 1 year, 9 months ago

Public Universities and colleges are very visible and it is what many think of when they think of good qualities a particular state has. They often stand right up front. They add to the quality of life and future. To neglect them and undercut funding is shortsighted to say the least. These institutions and there benefits make us proud.

verity 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm torn. Brownback certainly looks stupid---nobody home behind those eyes, but his actions would say he knows exactly what he's doing. I suspect there's a handler whispering in his ear at all times. A ventriloquist comes to mind.

Or maybe he's smarter than he seems. No, I'm going with the handler.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.