Hugh Carter, The Chamber’s Vice President of External Affairs, recently met with Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer’s top officers, including Andrew Wiens, Governor Colyer’s Chief Policy Officer and Larry Campbell, Chief Budget Officer.
Here are some highlights from that meeting:
- Hugh invited Governor to speak to The Chamber at a breakfast of lunch event.
- The Governor would like to do that and Hugh is submitting some dates for the Governor’s scheduler.
- Discussed workforce development and, specifically, career and tech ed funding.
- They were very interested in (and unaware of) Peaslee Tech.
- The Governor would like to tour Peaslee Tech and we will either set that up in conjunction with a speaking engagement or another time, depending on schedules.
- Discussed Medicaid expansion.
- Confirmed the Governor will veto Medicaid expansion, if passed.
- There does not appear to be enough votes for to overturn a veto.
- Governor believes there are better options to serve those at risk.
- He has included a 4% increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate to hospitals in current budget proposal.
- This increase is proposed on an ongoing basis.
- Other than the increase in hospital reimbursement rates, the Governor believes the focus needs to be on mental health and those with disabilities.
- Discussed our concerns about the cumulative effect of ten years of cuts to higher education. Inflation adjusted, funding to KU has been reduced by approximately $90 million since 2008.
- Discussed the need to expand K10 to four lanes. I shared with them that Transportation Secretary Carlson told the Chamber’s GCA committee a year ago that the three-year environmental study related to the expansion of the SLT was beginning immediately and construction would follow when that was completed. As of today, the environmental study has still not begun.
- They were unaware of this and said they will get with KDOT and follow up on this.
- Mr. Wiens pointed out that the current budget is largely Governor Brownback’s and that Governor Colyer is not likely to submit his own proposal. The plan is to work with the legislature to tweak what Brownback submitted.
- Mr. Campbell asked if we had concerns about recent changes to the local funding swap formula used for infrastructure projects. This formula is used to assign a certain percentage of federal funds that will go to the state when they assist the City in securing federal funds for local infrastructure projects. The state used to keep 10% of those funds but that percentage recently jumped to 25%. The funds that the state keeps are used on infrastructure projects as well.
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