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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Statehouse Live: Arts supporters urge Brownback to reverse defunding decision

August 30, 2011

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— With the state surplus growing, and because Gov. Sam Brownback wrongly predicted Kansas would continue to receive federal arts funding, supporters of the arts on Tuesday called on Brownback to restore state assistance to the Kansas Arts Commission.

But Brownback's office said that wasn't going to happen.

His spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag reiterated Brownback's statement that arts funding was not a core function of government and that the governor wants to "right-size" state government during tough economic times.

"You don't go out and buy art for the house when you are behind on the mortgage," Jones-Sontag said.

But several arts officials and House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said economic concerns are precisely why Brownback should restore the $689,000 to the Kansas Arts Commission that he vetoed.

"This decision by Gov. Brownback was penny-wise and pound-foolish," Davis said.

Since Brownback's veto, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance have declared that Kansas is ineligible for $1.3 million in federal matching grants. Brownback and his administration had earlier told legislators that the federal funding would continue to flow to Kansas.

And Davis said that since the state's current reserve fund totals $180 million and is growing, the state could afford to fund the Arts Commission.

Several artists and arts officials from towns across the state also urged Brownback to reverse his decision in his next budget proposal, saying the lack of state funding would result in lost jobs and arts projects, especially in rural areas.

Louis Copt, a Lecompton artist who was designated earlier this year by the Kansas Arts Commission as the 2011 Governor's Artist, said he was concerned about how Kansas would be portrayed outside the state, and how Kansas children would view the arts. "We have to show them the arts are alive in Kansas," he said.

Gail Parsons, executive director of the Junction City Arts Council, said the group has lost both state and city funding. She said that affects the organization's ability to raise private dollars. "When we lose public funding, it sends the message that this is not so important. People start backing off," she said.

Melissa Windsor, executive director of the Emporia Arts Council, said public assistance was crucial to operate the town's new arts center that took years to plan for and build.

"Today it remains under-staffed and under-utilized due to a lack of public funding," she said.

Comments

zzgoeb 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's go over this again...artists rent space, buy supplies, hire help, pay taxes...yeah, real losers. If Gov. Sam REALLY wants to "pay the mortgage" he needs to end ALL farm and business subsidies, as that's not a function of the government either. Oh wait, those are his contributors!!! And quit hiring his high-priced lawyer friends to defend his Taliban-inspired laws.

Ancient Rome had amazing infrastructure, the Coliseum, enjoyed public killings as sport, ad nauseum. But you know the one thing it never had? Any type of great art beyond simple craftsmen and tradesmen?

The greedheads on these boards that trash the arts are simple-minded and mean, period.

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handley 2 years, 7 months ago

Where is all the money that Brownback's friends are donating to the arts foundation? Just asking.

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handley 2 years, 7 months ago

Where is all the money that Brownback's friends are donating to the arts foundation? Just asking.

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handley 2 years, 7 months ago

Where is all the money that Brownback's friends are donating to the arts foundation? Just asking.

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Kim Murphree 2 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps treating Kansans with respect might yield better reception of your opinion than treating them with contempt. I could say the same to you. What I said is true. They bought something that was advertised as one thing and turned out to be another. That's not contempt, that's a reality check. Asking people to think outside the "R" and the "D" is also not contempt--unless ofcourse you are one of those who cannot take the time to actually analyze the information provided on the candidates--maybe that's you...but that certainly doesn't have to be everyone. My moderate Republican friends DON'T like what this governor is doing. They admit they were deceived. After all, changing abortion rights really has little to do with creating a business friendly atmosphere--Neither does creating a "faith-based" initiative office that we will be taxed and have to pay for. Nor does throwing disabled people to the street by eliminiating services create a more business friendly atmosphere--Let's also be reminded that there are large companies that have tax breaks without creating any new jobs--especially in the oil and gas industries in Kansas--not really a CORE government practice, right? Stop preaching the failed "limited government" philosophy, Kansans need more common sense not more ideologues.

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Kim Murphree 2 years, 7 months ago

Come on people--you who voted for the great jobs creating Republican were fooled. Brownback ran on economic propoganda just to get you to vote for him. He never intended anything other than to immediately enact his radical right-wing agenda. There was a ton of elbowing and quiet winking during his campaign because the few in this state who are the extreme knew what was up. Brownback lied to you, my moderate Republican friends, he never had a plan to make the economy of this state grow. His first concern was to aggregate power to himself from his core supporters--the radicals--appeasing them with anti-abortion, anti-social program agendas, like new "health" regulations on clinics, and closing SRS offices, and cutting funding to education & social programs...art is just another one of those places where creative intelligence can flourish...and this governor does NOT want that...he wants you to follow him blindly....if you see the "R" by the name...you will vote for it.....and after all, artists are not good followers...they think too much out of the box. For those of us who actually THINK about who we vote for---its time to get moving on organizing a strong movement to vote him OUT as soon as we can, and vote in those who will stand up for common sense and the Kansas people in the future.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 7 months ago

chootspa (anonymous) replies… Jobs are a nice core priority of the state

Moderate Responds: Could not disagree more. I do not think it is my job through government spending to provide jobs. I buy goods and services and jobs might result but they are not the primary purpose of my taxes.

I don't believe any of the funds for art in other parts of the budget were cut.

I think the l,ong term economic effect of good education outweighs most of the othere things we do. The number of jobs being thrown about as lost because of Mr Sam's actions defies logic.

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2 years, 7 months ago

For some reason, when I see what The Gov has done and how he treats the people of Kansas, I can't help but think of these:

http://youtu.be/CqgZnvfJ9Jg

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chiefdist2 2 years, 7 months ago

So in following is Sammy also going to halt the funding of the restoration of the art that is our state capital building? Those nasty wall paintings of John Brown and such have got to go. And get that artful Indian off the top of the dome along with those artful ornamentations to the architecture. Oh, Sammy while you are at it remove art from your state letterhead, flag, seal and those little "Pray" desk ornaments that you gave your hired thugs. Everyone in grey robes quick!

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Roland Gunslinger 2 years, 7 months ago

"You don't go out and buy art for the house when you are behind on the mortgage," Jones-Sontag said.

You also don't go stick unexpected income into a savings account when you are behind on the mortgage.

So which is it? Is Kansas behind on its mortgage or do we have an income surplus this month of $18 million?

Hey, if I knew buying a $700 painting for my house would mean someone would then give me $1300 for doing that I wouldn't hesitate to buy that art. I don't know of anything that pays nearly 200% return on investment immediately.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

rockchalk1977, TomShewmon, and NancyBoy appear to have some sort of aberrant fascination with President Obama. Any subject that they comment on all reverts back to the President. Clinical psychologists would no-doubt have a field day about this condition. Some kind of Freudian implications!

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riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

"Kansas dynamic"

I like you and I love Kelley Hunt but the two words above are currently incongruous.

"n·con·gru·ous/inˈkäNGgro͞oəs/

Adjective: Not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something; not in place."

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clorox 2 years, 7 months ago

The people of Lawrence are waisting their time. Brownback is a radical extremist tea party racist republican trying to destroy the country. But dont worry he will pray for you and tell you to get married and it will solve all of the problems.

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Ken Hunt 2 years, 7 months ago

Arts are one of the best drivers of the creative class and economic development. Sometimes political leaders reach so far to the left or right that they trip over others in their party trying to prove who is more conservative or liberal. Common sense needs to rule the day - restore the funding to continue to make Kansas dynamic.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 7 months ago

So our local Dems want to spend money on the arts. I thought education was our highest priority?? Should we not use any and all surplus to fund education (a core state function). Of course we could let the taxpayers keep more of it given that the povernment has destroyed the housing market and the stock market with ill conceived policies poorly regulated.

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vuduchyld 2 years, 7 months ago

Welcome to Brownbackistan, it's where Kansas used to be Welcome to Brownbackistan, it's our new theocracy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLUfNPdirdE

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

The arts community needs to give it up. Brownback threw away money for his ideological reasons and it had nothing to do with art or the budget. Let it ride and let him stew in his own theological juices. The leader of the KKKansas Taliban will just have to carry on. Besides, outlawing abortions and birth control is a more important matter for Muscular Sam and his minions; they should concentrate on that. Remember, "When condoms are outlawed, only outlaws will have condoms."

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 7 months ago

"But Brownback's office said that wasn't going to happen."

Being Sam Brownback means never having to say you're wrong.

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overthemoon 2 years, 7 months ago

"You don't go out and buy art for the house when you are behind on the mortgage," Jones-Sontag said.

One, this statement is indicative of people trying to relate Government spending with household finances. Macro and micro economics are different animals and the analogy is flawed.

Two, it seems this twit is thinking that 'The Arts' are pictures you hang over the sofa. It shows the shallow attitude toward the value of arts education and exposure to people of all ages. Theater, dance, music, craft, the fine arts, and spoken and written word are all part of 'the Arts'. If anything, it is during tough times that the arts can provide valuable reminders of who we are, what we dream of, and why money is not the most important part of our life on this rock.

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question4u 2 years, 7 months ago

The fact remains that no other state or US territory has followed Brownback's lead. The rest of the country doesn't seem to see the wisdom in losing $1.2 million for your state economy just to save $700,000 for your $180 million surplus. Even the Kansas Legislature didn't think that it was a smart move, and that's saying something. No other state or US territory seems to want the reputation that Brownback has given to Kansas.

Why not? Shouldn't the people of those states and territories be proud to stand up and say, 'We don't support the arts"? Don't they think that showing less support for museums, symphonies, and theaters than does Mississippi or Alabama will be a selling point for business that might be looking to relocate? Don't they think that ceasing to support art centers in rural counties will make the population boom there? Don't they think that letting the arts decline is a sign of an enlightened state? Don't they think that having a $180 million surplus instead of a $179.3 million surplus is worth lowering your state's reputation for quality of life?

Doesn't the rest of the nation think that Brownback is a leader worth following?

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

The solution for this is very simple. Make Brownbackwards the Official State Commissioner of Art. There is a very good example of how this should work, in 1937 in Germany Hitler created the House of German Art. Hitler made it clear that the cliques of "dilettantes and art forgers" of the modern art will be liquidated ....."they have had four years' time to prove themselves," he said at the inauguration.

In this fashion, the "degenerate art" of the "modernists" would be suppressed and unapproved art that was "spiritually destructive" would be eliminated.

Great plan for the Kansas facists that wish to control every element of artistic expression and to keep the "trash and riff-raff" from being funded!!

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observant 2 years, 7 months ago

The decision that is in desperate need of reversing is that of the ignorant voters in Kansas in electing him.

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BigAl 2 years, 7 months ago

And once again, President Obama was right. We have Brownback and we are paying for it.

Thanks for pointing this out rockchalk1977.

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rockchalk1977 2 years, 7 months ago

"Elections have consequences"... Barack Hussein Obama II.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 7 months ago

Sure would be nice to sit home all day smoking weed and making something out of a shoebox on the taxpayers dime.

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