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What happens when state raises rent on state tenants

As part of its recent request for nearly $30 million more in state funding for higher education for fiscal 2017, the Kansas Board of Regents seeks $178,000 to offset a 32 percent increase in rent on the regents’ 22,000 square feet of space in the Curtis State Office Building in Topeka. Why has the state jacked up lease rates so much in a state-owned building, prompting a tenant to ask for more state money to pay rent? “All state agencies that occupy state office buildings were notified a year ago that rent would be increasing,” John Milburn, director of legislative and public affairs for the Kansas Department of Administration, recently told The Eagle editorial board via e-mail. “The increases weren’t confined to the regents or occupants of Curtis, and everyone was given notification to be able to set their budgets accordingly.” Among the complicating factors, according to the regents’ request, are limits on the use of federal funds to cover the agency’s office rent. – Rhonda Holman

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