Gov. Sam Brownback met with leaders at Wichita State University Monday to solicit support for his funding proposal that would help maintain state dollars for higher education.
Brownback’s visit to WSU was his first stop on his tour this week to state universities.
The republican governor says the legislature doesn't have to choose between funding higher education at the current levels and supporting a competitive tax structure.
“But to do that, we're going to have to move forward," says Brownback. “We're going to have to continue the sales tax where it is now. We're going to have to continue changes to move to a flat tax system. I think it's wrong for us to be looking at cutting higher education, and if I could quote President Bardo, 'It really hurts momentum. It's a momentum killer.'”
Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt says she appreciates the governor's stance on no cuts.
From 2008 to 2012, higher education has taken an 11 percent cut, which Downey-Schmidt says is basically at the 2002 funding level.
Regent Robba Moran says state universities are more efficient and need the funding.
“Good faculty is not cheap," he says. "Good programs are not cheap, and we're trying to do everything we can to promote economic development in the state.”
Brownback says funding for the KU School of Medicine-Wichita should be maintained and the school's four-year program should not be reduced to two years.
The Kansas House and Senate are considering cuts to higher education between 2 and 4 percent in the next fiscal year budget. Lawmakers will return to Topeka for the wrap up session May 8.