Arcadia Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday expressed confidence in arts funding in Kansas despite the announcement that the state lost federal matching grants because he vetoed state funding for the arts.
On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts said it couldn’t provide assistance to Kansas because of Brownback’s decision to withdraw state aid to the Kansas Arts Commission. The decision probably cost Kansas about $1.2 million.
Brownback applied a line-item veto to funding the Kansas Arts Commission, essentially leaving an agency with no budget or staff. He proposed fundraising be handled by a new non-government foundation.
On Wednesday, Brownback said he wished the NEA had given Kansas more time and worked with the state.
He said private money is being raised for the arts, although he said that will take some time.
“I am pleased to see what the commission has done to date,” he said.
In the past, Kansas invested about $700,000 annually to secure $1.2 million in external grants for arts programs scattered throughout the state.
During the last legislative session, Brownback had proposed getting rid of the Arts Commission and replacing it with a private fund-raising group.
But his executive order to do that was rejected on a bipartisan vote in the Senate. Legislators in the House and Senate then approved a state budget that included $689,000 for the Arts Commission, but Brownback vetoed that funding.