Governor pushes for higher ed

By The Mercury

Gov. Sam Brownback came to Kansas State University Monday to continue his push against cuts to the state’s higher education system.

The governor met with KSU students and faculty Monday morning as part of a two-week long series of recess stops to various cities with higher education institutions. His message at each of those stops has been to build support for lawmakers to resist proposed spending reductions as a means of balancing the state budget.

He wants legislators to keep funding for the state’s universities, community colleges and technical schools stable in the 2014 budget. Legislators are going the opposite direction with the House seeking a 4 percent cut and the Senate a 2-percent cut to higher education. He is also lobbying to keep the state’s sales tax rate at 6.3 percent instead of reducing to 5.7 percent as scheduled in July.

At K-State, he repeated the message he has emphasized at other stops: that universities and the state’s higher education system has stepped up, but resources are still needed.  He described his calls for stable funding for the higher education system.

In recent years, lawmakers have reduced the percentage of state support of the total cost of higher education.

The governor is scheduled to be at Fort Hays State University on Tuesday, then stops at the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Salina campus. The legislature reconvenes later this week.

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