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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Brownback concludes tour urging support of stable funding for higher education

May 7, 2013

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— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday concluded his statewide tour aimed at protecting higher education from budget cuts, but Democratic legislative leaders said the effort "rang hollow."

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said, "You sort of now have the guy who started the fire, has finally decided to call the fire department."

As the Legislature reconvenes Wednesday for the wrapup session, Democrats contend higher education and other state services are facing precarious finances because Brownback signed into law mammoth income tax cuts last year.

On his tour of college campuses over the past couple of weeks, Brownback urged keeping higher education funding stable.

"I believe the state must live within its means and recognize there are difficult spending decisions we must make. This is why my administration has worked to reform state agencies so they are more efficient and effective,” Brownback said. “However, there are core responsibilities that we must protect. Higher education is one of them," he added.

But his conservative Republican colleagues say higher ed could absorb cuts. The House has approved a 4 percent cut to higher ed, and the Senate, a 2 percent cut.

To protect higher education and balance the budget, Brownback also wants to keep the state sales tax rate at 6.3 percent. Under current law, the rate is scheduled to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1.

Senate Republicans have backed Brownback's plan, but House Republicans have balked.

Democrats, who helped approve the temporary sales tax increase in 2010, said they will not vote to extend it further, even if that means cuts to universities.

"A lot of the people in the university community at KU, sort of see this for what it is," said Davis. "We wouldn't be having this discussion if it wasn't for the income tax cuts." Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said Brownback's support of higher ed "rang hollow."

Last year, Brownback signed into law a package that lowered income tax rates and exempted the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from state income taxes. The package also did away with several rebates and credits designed to help low-income Kansans.

Brownback has said the plan will boost the economy, and he wants to eventually eliminate all individual state income taxes.

Comments

James Nelson 1 year, 7 months ago

Nobody likes to be blackmailed or unduly coerced into supporting a political position. That's exactly what Sam Brownback has done to college and university officials across Kansas. He has told them, in so many words, that the only way they can get the same dollars they got last year was to support raising the sales tax to prior levels. WHAT A LIE!!!!!!! He personally created the financial catastrophe for the state trying to look like a financial wizard that would propel him to the GOP presidential nomination the next go around. He must have failed economic history however as "trickle down" didn't work before and it won't work now. He has even admitted that he embarked Kansas on an experiment. To hell with his experiment. The guy is going to run off all the workers to other states as nothing will trickle down.

The very term "trickle down" is both obscene and a huge affront to the average worker. The way it is supposed to work is to give the rich so much money that it is hoped they will eventually hire more workers. But what we saw before when this was tried was the money went to buy a second Mercedes for the family or got invested in the stock market. No new jobs. The rich only got richer and the poor poorer.

Sam is finding out from more and more Kansans just where he can shove his experiment.

GOVERNOR - MAKE THE RICH PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF INCOME TAXES

Carol Bowen 1 year, 7 months ago

Too late. The governor set a pattern of no input from Kansans. He knew better in so many cases. Now, he needs us?

Jock Navels 1 year, 7 months ago

This just in: South Carolina still way more stoopider than Kansassippi.

globehead 1 year, 7 months ago

At first I was ready to agree with you. But, then I decided that philandering doesn't make one an idiot. Bad policies do. I still may agree with you, but will need more data. It is a shame that in so many cases, the best we can elect is pure mediocrity.

chootspa 1 year, 7 months ago

How about abusing taxpayer money to philander? He paid over $100,000 in court costs and fines for ethics violations over charges that he used taxpayer money to fly to Argentina for his liaisons. For me, that's the bigger deal. He's no different from an embezzler in my mind.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 7 months ago

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is banking on the prospect that, in the next week or so, his Legislature will approve a tax increase.

Brownback, a master at the art of illusion, has been touring the state and portraying himself as the champion of Kansas’ colleges and universities. Only an extension of the sales tax increase, he said, could hold the schools’ budgets at their current levels.

But that level is hardly adequate. Jill Docking, Brownback’s one-time political opponent and a former member of the Board of Regents, noted that state funding for higher education plunged 11 percent from 2008 through 2012. Many states are taking advantage of rebounding revenues to make up recessionary losses; in Kansas, level funding is talked about as a victory.

“Higher education is a very competitive business,” Docking wrote on her blog, dockingblog.com. “We will lose our most talented students, faculty and researchers to those states with the commitment to education that Kansas has had for generations, but currently, apparently, lacks.”

Even a sales tax increase won’t cure the ills of the Kansas budget. Brownback and key lawmakers are desperately searching for pots of money to plunder, for projects to defer and for fiscal tricks to employ. The strategy is unsustainable.

It’s been interesting — if rather sad — to watch Brownback lobby for a sales tax increase while also insisting his end game is to eliminate the income tax. Under no scenario should the Legislature entertain such a notion. Credible studies show that the state must attract record numbers of high-paying jobs to close the budget gap the first round of tax cuts has created — a feat made all the more difficult as schools and service slip.

The governor’s tax increase would at least save Kansas from falling faster. Lawmakers should pass it, and close some tax loopholes as well. Then they should begin a soul-searching process aimed at steering back to a fiscal policy that honors the state’s traditional values, such as good schools and services.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/05/07/4223811/brownbacks-sales-tax-increase.html#storylink=cpy

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

I do wonder if the sales tax will affect sales. Maybe it's not enough to do so, especially since we're used to it, but with the current situation, I wonder if local sales taxes won't also be going up. At some point, it definitely will affect what I buy---already does to a certain extent. Much as people don't want to see it, our economy does depend on people buying stuff.

This is not good in the short or long run.

Not only does this affect the poorest the most, it's a promise broken.

tomatogrower 1 year, 7 months ago

Brownback can now say he tried his hardest to save higher education, but the legislator just wouldn't let him. Poor victim. Now, please elect him governor again. Don't do it Kansas. Wake up!!!

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

Does anyone really believe the money from keeping the ramped up sales tax will be used for higher education?

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

So am I right to think that this is trying to make the poorest among us pay for a higher education by the back door, one that they will never be able to afford to take advantage of?

oldexbeat 1 year, 7 months ago

Koch Brothers LLC and ALEC -- those that pay the piper, call the tune. The poor and working poor and lower middle class are not of interest to Sammy. They don't count. Brownback sings what ALEC plays. And he lies. Not an honest person.

pegicorn 1 year, 7 months ago

We all can see what Brownback has done, but why make the universities pay for this. We can NOT absorb the kind of tax cut the house wants. Its bad enough that I work at one of the universities and I haven't had a raise in YEARS, but now they what us to cut back, where?? You can not use the Endowed accounts to make up the difference, if you had any idea how that works. If we did, we would NOT get any contributions from donors that have their money intended for research, scholarships and more. I would not at this point tell anyone to work for the state! Your job is unsecured, you will not get any raises and any more, you don't even know if your job is secured.

Shame on both parties to ever let it get this far! You both signed that stupid tax law and we all saw it for what it was back then.

WAKE UP!

Good luck at the next election. I would like to see a whole new crop of folks representing me, that is for sure!

verity 1 year, 7 months ago

"You can not use the Endowed accounts to make up the difference, . . . "

That is correct.

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