Gov. Sam Brownback met with education officials and some top Republican lawmakers Monday to discuss school finance. The gathering comes as the Kansas Supreme Court considers a lawsuit over education spending and lawmakers prepare for the 2014 legislative session.
Brownback says the closed-door meeting was aimed at bringing together his office, education officials that represent local districts and lawmakers. He says those groups have not always seen eye-to-eye on the issue of education funding, leading to lawsuits.
The Kansas Board of Regents has approved a budget request that asks for restoration of millions of dollars in cuts. Lawmakers cut more than $30 million from the higher education budget last legislative session.
The cuts to higher education were made to across-the-board spending, and funding for salaries.
Lawmakers passed a two-year budget last session, but members of the Board or Regents said they have a responsibility to advocate for increased investment in higher ed. The regents backed off a proposal that would have promised flat tuition if the cuts were reversed.
The Kansas Board of Regents will be talking about budget issues this week. This comes in the wake of funding cuts to higher education made earlier this year.
Writing a budget proposal for something as large and complex as the university system takes multiple steps. Mary Jane Stankiewicz with the Board of Regents says university officials have made their proposals to the board. Now the regents will work on distilling that into one plan.
“This will be a discussion and a determination of what items should be forwarded to the governor for consideration,” says Stankiewicz.
The Kansas State Board of Education will be asking lawmakers to increase school funding by more than $600 million in the coming fiscal year. That would be an increase of more than 20 percent. That decision came at a meeting in Topeka Tuesday.
The board members voted 7-3 to make the request for increased funding. More than $400 million would go to the base state aid per student that is paid to districts. The money would also increase funding for professional development and school lunch programs.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the state is serious about attracting investments from aircraft and aviation companies.
Brownback attended the Paris Air Show last month to meet with industry representatives. He says the air show, which bills itself as the world's largest, provides an opportunity to showcase Kansas as a place for aviation business.
The University of Kansas is wrestling with how to cut $13.5 million from its budget over the next two years, but the funding reduction will not prompt the closing of the KU School of Medicine's campus in Salina
The KU Medical Center, which operates the school, will have to absorb more than $8 million in cuts. KU spokesman Jack Martin says closing the Salina campus, and scaling back operations in Wichita are no longer on the table.
Gov. Sam Brownback is leading a trade delegation to the Paris Air Show this week. The trip to France is aimed at attracting aviation business to Kansas and drumming up sales for the aircraft industry in the state.
"You could travel all over the world for a month to try and get these meetings that you can get in three days at these major air shows, " says Brownback.
"And, it is such a major industry for us as a state that we need to push it and we need to make sure we're on everybody's front and center mind if they're looking to expand."
Kansas is “open for business," according to the enthusiastic proclamation made by Gov. Sam Brownback Thursday morning as he signed a controversial tax bill in Overland Park, Kan.
The governor was referring to the impact of second year cuts in state income taxes that he and supporters claim will attract economic development to the state - enough economic development to offset expected budget shortfalls in coming years.
Lawmakers and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback disagreed on higher education funding this legislative session.
Legislators passed a budget with more than $60 million in cuts over two years for the state's universities. In Kansas, the governor has the power of line item veto, which can sometimes be used to block cuts, but it looks like Brownback can't block the higher ed cuts.
The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amended version of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to issue more bonds for a federal lab in Manhattan. They delayed a decision Wednesday on the governor's proposal to help fund the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility, but after a briefing from Brownback's chief of staff, the committee approved the plan for $200 million in bonds.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder contacted Gov. Sam Brownback earlier this week saying that a Kansas gun law barring federal regulation on Kansas-manufactured firearms is unconstitutional.
The Second Amendment Protection Act criminalizes the enforcement of federal laws on any guns that are made in Kansas and stay there. But, in a letter to the governor, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that this is in direct conflict with federal law.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (r) speaking with Doug Girod (l) and other KU Medical Center officials Thursday afternoon about the importance of continued state funding to the medical center. The state House's budget proposal would cut about $11 million from the center.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback visited the University of Kansas campus yesterday, where he met with school officials and student leaders as part of a tour promoting higher education in the state.
Brownback called KU a "great innovation institution" and highlighted its role in the Kansas economy.
“We’ve really got some momentum moving forward in job creation off of our universities, providing excellence in education, which is a primary issue for us, and we want to keep that momentum growing,” said Brownback.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed into law a bill to combat human trafficking and exploitation of underage sex workers.
The governor signed the bill Monday saying it will provide increased criminal penalties and services for victims of sexual exploitation.
“This will not only strengthen our ability to severely punish traffickers, but it will give us valuable new tools to protect vulnerable young victims so they can have hope of a new life and break the cycle of exploitation,” says Brownback.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback will start a tour of the state's universities this week to pitch his funding proposal to lawmakers.
Brownback is pushing for mostly level funding for colleges and universities with some targeted increases, but legislators are considering cuts. Brownback says higher education has a connection to economic growth in Kansas.
A Senate Committee has delayed work on Governor Sam Brownback's tax proposal. A printing mix-up meant the scheduled debate was left off the official Senate calendar, but the committee's chairman says he didn't want to work on the tax plan without letting the public know about it.
The committee was scheduled to debate the bill and offer amendments. In Statehouse lingo, that’s called “working” the bill. Wichita Republican Les Donovan chairs the Senate Tax Committee. He says they’ll benefit from the extra time to prepare.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has proposed more income tax cuts in Kansas over the coming years. And to help pay for that, he wants to make permanent part of a temporary sales tax increase that is set to expire later this year. He's also suggested eliminating some tax deductions, like the home mortgage deduction.
There is now a conservative majority in both the House and Senate, and some lawmakers may try to find additional cuts to state spending instead of using the sales tax and tax deductions to help pay for an income tax cut.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (r), Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer (middle) and Secretary of Corrections Ray Roberts (l) discuss strengthening the mental health safety net system at Wyandotte Center in Kansas City, Kan.
City and state officials were on hand Thursday to lift the shovels during a ceremonial groundbreaking for Prairiefire, a new Overland Park development at 135th Street between Nall and Lamar. The site includes a natural history museum.
Budget negotiations between President Obama and Congressional leaders continue, but if those talks fail, Kansas will see a series of funding cuts that will affect the future of higher education, research, and military bases in the state.