Last week, the House and Senate passed legislation to avert furloughs. They also passed a budget which maintains investment in higher education, including Pittsburg State University. These were vitally important steps forward. Today, that progress is in serious jeopardy.
On Sunday, the Senate passed a budget funded primarily through an increase in the state sales tax. As of this afternoon, the House had yet to agree upon revenue sources that would result in a balanced budget.
State estimates are that there will be a $400 million shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year without additional revenue. If lawmakers do not agree upon funding for a balanced budget there are three likely scenarios.
- The Governor vetoes the budget – likely resulting in government shutdown and furloughs;
- The Governor vetoes specific agency lines – eliminating entire agency budgets;
- The Governor makes cuts, legally referred to as “allotments,” bringing the budget into balance – under Kansas law the Governor is authorized to make cuts necessary to insure a balanced budget.
According to state budget director Shawn Sulllivan, the most likely option will be the third – an across the board 6.2 percent cut. This would mean a 6.2 percent cut to education spending at all levels, including a nearly $2.2 million cut to Pittsburg State University and almost $50 million in total cuts to higher education.
In response to the threat of a 6.2 percent cut Pittsburg State University President Steve Scott stated, “A cut of nearly $2.2 million would be devastating. While we have successfully navigated challenging financial times since the economic downturn of 2008, it would be very difficult to manage a cut of this magnitude without significant impact on operations. I ask the entire Gorilla Nation to help us in urging our elected officials to fund the budget.”
Call to Action: Together we’ve built far too much momentum to have it threatened now. The choice is a stark and serious one: either legislators pass a revenue package to fund the budget or we will suffer devastating cuts. We need your help witin the next 24 hours. Contact your elected officials. Tell them it’s time to #Fund the Budget.