Daily Archives: May 1, 2013

So much for KBA being independent, free from politics

The Kansas Bioscience Authority was set up with a separate governing board in an attempt to minimize political influence on funding decisions. But those walls have been crumbling in recent years. Wichita lawmakers intervened to get funding for a local project, and now Gov. Sam Brownback wants to use KBA’s funding to help pay for an adult stem cell research center. The Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center was an idea hatched this year by some state senators and will be part of the University of Kansas Medical Center. KU never asked for the center, and the project’s medical and commercial merit was never vetted. As part of the spending adjustments that he released this week, Brownback proposed diverting almost $1.2 million from KBA next year to create the center and about $750,000 annually to help pay for its operation.

Parkinson won’t second-guess Brownback on sales tax

“This 1-cent sales tax will only last for three years, then drop to 0.4 cents to pay for the ongoing transportation plan,” wrote Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson (in photo) in July 2010, arguing the statewide sales-tax increase would avert a sixth round of budget cuts and help fund schools, public safety and social services. But now Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is lobbying the House to join the Senate and extend the full 6.3 percent sales-tax rate – to avoid cuts to higher education and other items in a budget under pressure from last year’s deep income-tax cuts. How does Parkinson feel about the likelihood of his temporary tax hike being made permanent? When The Eagle editorial board e-mailed Parkinson, now president and chief executive officer of the American Health Care Association in Washington, D.C., he said: “I believe that interjecting myself in current issues would just be noise and not helpful. Running a state is not easy. The current governor and Legislature don’t need me second-guessing their actions.”