TOPEKA — Two members of the board overseeing Kansas' higher education system said Wednesday that the state needs to consider raising new tax revenues because of its budget problems.
Board of Regents members Dan Lykins and Gary Sherrer made their comments after a top aide to Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson met with the board. Budget Director Duane Goossen said not only is Parkinson planning to make cuts next week, but state spending might have to remain at reduced levels into 2012.
Education and social service advocates already have called for consideration of additional taxes. Many members of the Republican-controlled Legislature worry that any such measures will slow an economic recovery.
But Sherrer, a former lieutenant governor from Overland Park, said if state universities continue to face funding cuts, they may have to cap their enrollments — and deny access to some students.
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Lykins noted that when state revenues were healthy in past years, legislators repeatedly approved tax breaks. Also, the state has dozens of exemptions to its 5.3 percent sales tax.
"Maybe we ought to be looking at these," said Lykins, a Topeka attorney.
GOP leaders have said any move to raise revenue will hurt businesses just when the state needs them to create new jobs.