Analysis: Kansas higher education debate shows differing priorities

Kansas Statehouse

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Higher education officials in Kansas argue that public universities and colleges are crucial to economic growth.

But they’ll still see their state funding shrink because many members of the Republican-dominated Legislature believe income tax cuts will be a bigger engine of prosperity.

The Kansas higher education system operates in the broader political context created by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desire to eventually eliminate personal income taxes to boost the economy.

Brownback balanced his push for additional cuts in income tax rates this year with proposals to keep state funding for higher education flat for the next two years.

Republican majorities in both chambers demonstrated that they consider lower income taxes more important than public universities and colleges to promoting economic growth.

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