At an April Wichita Downtown Rotary luncheon meeting featuring Gov. Sam Brownback, the questioners included Jill Docking, the Democrat and financial adviser who lost to Brownback in his first U.S. Senate race in 1996. Docking, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents from 2007 to 2010, wrote on her policy site, the Docking Blog, about Brownback’s recent lobbying to keep higher-education funding flat by extending the higher sales-tax rate. “Taken on its face, the governor’s endorsement of ‘no cuts’ sounds like support, even the work of a savior. But when you take a look at the history of funding for the regent institutions in Kansas, it becomes apparent that the governor is advocating for maintaining not adequate funding but recession-level funding,” Docking wrote, citing an 11 percent decline in state funding for higher ed from 2008 through 2012. Now that Brownback wants to “lock education funding into recession levels” to help fund his “experimental” business and personal income-tax cuts, she continued, one “danger is that those states reinvesting in higher education after the recession will prey on our talent pool – at the cost of Kansas’ future economic competitiveness. When you understand this context, you come to realize that the governor is not solving the problem of adequate funding of higher education – he is exacerbating it.”
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