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Kansas Board Of Regents Contributes $1.9 Million To Balance State Budget

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill on Tuesday, raising the state’s sales tax to 6.5 percent and making only one line item cut. Maria Carter has more.

The tax increase still left a $50 million budget hole.

Many people expected Gov. Brownback to announce where he was cutting that money, but instead he trimmed just $1.9 million from a higher education program, allowing students to get a GED and a technical certificate at the same time.

The Kansas Board of Regents offered this year’s money because they still had almost all of the program’s funds left from last year, so the cut wouldn’t affect students or community colleges.

Board of Regents spokesperson Breeze Richardson says the money was offered in good faith and staff was perplexed that there weren’t cuts in other agencies.

The governor’s office says they haven’t made a serious effort to identify other cuts, but they can’t come from K-12 education, the state pension system or debt service payments.

The Board of Regents meets on Wednesday to discuss tuition at state universities. Lawmakers capped tuition hikes capped tuition hikes at 3.6 percent, but it’s still unknown how those hikes will be split between in-state and out-of-state students.

Maria Carter is a reporter with KCUR News in Kansas City.