State cuts $17 million from public universities

Kansas missing the estimated tax revenue in February led Governor Sam Brownback to announce a $17 million cut to the state universities.


Kansas missed the estimated taxes by $53 million, resulting in some public schools like Witchita State University to cut all non-critical spending already. They alone are expected to lose $2 million in funding. The revenue estimations not being met is nothing new to Kansas as they have missed the expectations multiple times in the past few years.


Brownback responded to criticism, blaming the state’s budget on the country’s economy, not his own policies and Kansas tax law changes.


“This is an economic problem, not a tax policy problem,” said Brownback. “Our tax policy has been instrumental in creating more than 80,000 jobs since we took office and has resulted in a record numbers of Kansans working.”


Brownback’s claim that he has made 80,000 jobs since his taking office is not an accomplishment, and his growth rate is meager at best. From 2013 to 2014, Kansas only gained 12,000 jobs in the private sector, growing only .9%, which is half of some other surrounding states like Colorado, whose rate is 2.6% for total employment in those years.


The problem regarding cutting public schools has been a controversial issue since Brownback’s election to the position of Governor, some calling his policies unconstitutional. Education has been cut from multiple different areas since his arrival in the position, from k-12 schools to universities; this cut being one of many he has implemented.


Tim Scheimann, a forensic chemistry major, has disagreed with Brownback’s actions, both current and past decision he’s made.


“I’m very frustrated by the fact that Brownback thinks this is going to fix our tax failures. Of all the times he’s cut taxes for universities, it’s done nothing but deplete the quality of our education.”


Alex Lasher, a freshman business major, also disagrees with Brownback’s policies, especially with small businesses.


“I definitely think it’s because Brownback is so short sided and he can’t see that the tax cuts he has implemented for small businesses are the reasons we have this budget shortfall. It’s fine that the projections for the taxes were where they were supposed to be but we wouldn’t have that problem if we didn’t give those small businesses tax cuts.”


Lasher is also concerned for programs that could possibly be cut because of the recent budget changes here at Washburn.


“We’re having to take out programs that I might use, because obviously Washburn is going to be affected by that $17 million dollar tax cut. It may be something I enjoy that’s gonna be cut. I think that Brownback needs to take a step back and look at how harmful his policies have been towards both public schools and universities. They use that money for good things, it’s not like it’s going to waste. I don’t see why we keep cutting stuff.”