Governor Signs Budget

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has signed the new budget of about $13 billion. When it came to education, she rejected the opportunity to use federal stimulus money for a one-time use, which is exactly what it should be used for:

According to the Kansas City Star,

“In signing the budget Monday, the governor vetoed the Legislature’s proposal to spend federal stimulus money for higher education solely on deferred maintenance.

Sebelius said her veto would allow the state Board of Regents to use the estimated $40 million in federal funds both to finance deferred maintenance and to help underwrite a proposal to freeze in-state tuition in the 2009-10 school year.”

That’s unfortunate.  If state-supported universities have deferred maintenance, that represents money that is going to have to be spent some time or another. While I’m not a fan of the stimulus package, it could have helped the state clear out some of that backlog. In other words, it would offer a solution to a current problem.

On the other hand, the governor prefers to roll the money into university budgets in a way that lets them subsidize current expenses. Parents of students may appreciate the tuition freeze (and certainly it is politically popular). But what happens when the stimulus money runs out? Tuition will have to be raised, by an amount greater than would have been the case.

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