Topeka A Lawrence legislator said Friday that failure by the Legislature to help Kansas University build a new medical education building will have a negative impact on the health of Kansans.
"If we are putting our KU Medical Center at risk, then we are putting our KU Cancer Center at risk," state Rep. Barbara Ballard said. "If you're doing that, you are hurting the whole state and the people who are depending on us."
Ballard, a Democrat, made her comments before about 30 people attending the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce's legislative update, held at Maceli's Banquet Hall & Catering, 1031 New Hampshire St.
Also speaking were state Sens. Marci Francisco and Tom Holland, and state Rep. John Wilson, all Democrats. House Democratic Leader Paul Davis and state Rep. Tom Sloan, a Republican, weren't able to attend because of scheduling conflicts, chamber officials said.
Earlier this week, the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a capital improvement plan that excluded funding KU says it needs to start construction of an estimated $75 million health education building. KU officials said without a new building to produce physicians, the medical school could lose its accreditation.
But Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Andover, argued that KU could prioritize its spending to get the project going.
On other legislation, Holland warned those attending the chamber event of a pending proposal to repeal the mortgage registration fee, which he said would cost Douglas County about $2 million in revenue.
State Sen. Marci Francisco said the Senate Utilities Committee will consider next week a bill to repeal the state's renewable energy standard. The standard, which Francisco supports, required major utility companies to have the capacity to generate 10 percent of their energy through a renewable source by 2011. It also called for the companies to generate 15 percent of their energy through a renewable source by 2016 and 20 percent by 2020.
In his comments, Wilson said he was frustrated by all the social service needs that aren't being met because of a lack of revenue caused by Gov. Sam Brownback's tax cuts. Brownback has contended that the cuts in income tax rates and business taxes were necessary to spur the economy.