Jayhawks for Higher Education: Feb. 28, 2014

Restoring last year’s cuts and training more doctors for Kansas

The 2014 legislative session has reached the halfway mark, and legislators are now on break until Wednesday, March 5. When they return, they will be finalizing the state budget. This means the next four days are an ideal time for you to visit with legislators in their home districts to discuss the importance of higher education, specifically the work the University of Kansas is doing on behalf of the state.

When visiting with legislators, we encourage you to discuss KU’s two legislative priorities: restoration of the Legislature’s 2013 cuts, and KU’s Health Education Initiative.

Restoration of the 2013 cuts

As you’ll recall, the 2013 Legislature approved a two-year budget that included across-the-board cuts to higher education, as well reductions known as the “salary cap.” At KU, these cuts totaled $13.53 million and fell disproportionately on the KU Medical Center.

This year, Governor Brownback’s budget proposal recommends restoring half of the salary cap cuts for this budget year and all of those cuts for the next fiscal year, which combined would mean an additional $4.07 million for KU Medical Center and $163,703 for KU. The budget does not recommend restoring the 1.5 percent across-the-board cuts. We’re asking you to urge legislators to support the Governor’s budget proposal, which begins restoring last year’s cuts.

The Health Education Initiative

Kansas has a severe doctor shortage, and KU is the only entity equipped to address it. That’s the core message for KU’s Health Education Initiative, which seeks state support for new health education facilities at our Kansas City campus so we can increase the class size by 50 students by 2017. Visit doctors4ks.ku.edu for messaging and one-page fact sheets to help you discuss the initiative with legislators.

Tools to help you interact with legislators

• Need contact info for your legislators? Visit our Jayhawks for Higher Education page and enter your address or zip code to instantly access contact information for legislators in your district.
• To help you identify opportunities to visit with legislators, we now have a statewide listing of legislative breakfasts and public forums.
• Our state relations director, Lindsey Douglas, provides weekly updates from the Statehouse.
Archived JHE messages and Hawk Points – talking points on specific KU topics – are available.
• Fact sheets, testimony, and information on KU’s budget is available at the KU Office of Public Affairs’ state relations page.

The time is now

The second half of the Legislative Session will be a whirlwind. That’s why this weekend — when legislators are in their hometowns — is the perfect opportunity for you to visit with them.

Again, we’re calling on Jayhawks like you to build support for the Governor’s budget recommendations to begin restoring the 2013 cuts, and for the Health Education Initiative. More broadly, we need you to communicate the special role KU plays in keeping Kansas prosperous and healthy.

As always, thank you for your support of KU.

Rock Chalk!

Tim Caboni
Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs

Kevin Corbett, c’88
President, KU Alumni Association