Given the state’s budget problems, it’s not surprising that some are complaining about the state spending more than $600,000 to refurbish its executive airplane. But the airplane is an important tool and needs to be properly maintained and protected. The Raytheon King Air 350, which the state purchased new in 2001, is being repainted ($69,000) and having its interior refurbished ($158,000) and its avionics upgraded ($398,000), Associated Press reported. The work is being done in Wichita at Textron Aviation. The operating cost of the airplane last year was $267,000, not including the wages for the pilots. In addition to Gov. Sam Brownback, the plane can be used for official business by other state officials and agencies and by the state universities. If there is a complaint about the airplane, it’s that the definition of “official state business” can seem loose sometimes. – Phillip Brownlee
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