Archive for Monday, March 10, 2014

State senator cuts $2 million proposal for research at KU; fellow lawmaker suggests removal is a vendetta

March 10, 2014


— A Senate budget subcommittee on Monday deleted $2 million for a proposed institute at Kansas University to develop new technologies and drugs in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies.

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks with state Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina in February. In the center is state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City.

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks with state Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina in February. In the center is state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City.

The deletion was proposed by state Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, and was blasted by state Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka.

"This is the only project that is singled out for removal. I want to know why," Kelly said. "This looks like a personal vendetta," she said to Arpke, who has been a frequent critic of funding to KU.

Arpke denied it was. He said if KU's budget was based on declining student enrollment at the Lawrence campus over the past five years, it would have faced a $13 million cut.

Arpke also put the deleted $2 million toward a scholarship program for low-income students, with 75 percent of that going to independent and private colleges. The current breakdown of the program is 50 percent to public universities and 50 to independents and private colleges.

Gov. Sam Brownback had proposed setting aside $2 million in his budget for the Kansas Institute for Translational Chemical Biology.

As planned, the institute would support research projects that deal with a wide range of health issues, such as tuberculosis, cancer, addiction and depression. The $2 million would help core laboratories that do highly technical work as well as provide seed money for pilot projects.

The deletion, approved by Arpke and state Sen. Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City, was made as part of the budgets of individual universities and the Kansas Board of Regents.

Referring to the KU cut, Kelly said, "This program will do exactly what we have been pounding the regents to do, working with the privater sector."

Tim Caboni, a spokesman for KU, said he hoped the funding would be restored when the recommendation goes to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday.

"We've had many productive conversations with the governor's office and Senate leadership about making investments to grow the Kansas economy. The proposed KU institute that the subcommittee cut today would enable KU to do exactly that," Caboni said.


Gary Denning 4 years, 2 months ago

This is what happens when Salina replaces Sen. Pete Brungardt, a well-respected moderate R with Arpke, a part-time substitute teacher.. . . Sad.

Bob Reinsch 4 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like Arpke is cherry-picking his facts. KU had a huge bump in enrollment in 2008 following KU's Orange Bowl victory in football and a National Championship in basketball. One would expect declines following in ensuing years. Maybe a 10 year or 20 year trend would be more appropriate?

Julius Nolan 4 years, 2 months ago

No vendetta, just following the Koch's orders. No independent thought allowed.

Phillip Chappuie 4 years, 2 months ago

It would appear to me at face value that the investment will mostly likely create jobs by the collaboration with the private sector pharm companies, whoever they might be. Just exactly what the Brownbackites have been telling us for the past few years. I'm not sure what Arpke and Abrams think they do. It certainly isn't develop good policy.

MerriAnnie Smith 4 years, 2 months ago

Kansas don't need no stinkin' edjikation!

Send them kids to church. God'll take care of'em.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 2 months ago

Maybe, but the Koch's and their tea party flunkies sure won't.

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