Archive for Saturday, May 28, 2011

Statehouse Live: Brownback signs budget; vetoes Kansas Arts Commission funding

May 28, 2011, 11:08 a.m. Updated May 28, 2011, 5:27 p.m.


Related document

Brownback message to Legislature ( .PDF )

— Gov. Sam Brownback on Saturday signed into law the $13.8 billion state budget, and as expected vetoed funding of the Kansas Arts Commission.

The budget, approved with only Republican votes in the Legislature, also cuts base state aid to schools by $232 per student, or 5.6 percent, and makes cuts in social services. Schools have said the cuts will force teacher layoffs and school closings and will jeopardize student performance as base state aid falls to its lowest level in two decades.

But Brownback congratulated legislators on crafting “a fair budget in the midst of a down economy” without raising taxes. Legislators started the 2011 session facing a $500 million revenue shortfall, in part due to expiring federal assistance.

While approving most of the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, Brownback, a Republican who took office in January, applied a line item veto in several areas, including funds for the Arts Commission.

During the legislative session, Brownback had issued an order to eliminate the Arts Commission as a cost-cutting move and replace it with a private, nonprofit foundation.

The plan brought widespread opposition with supporters of the commission saying it was needed to lure federal arts dollars and provide important programs in local communities. The Kansas Senate rejected Brownback’s order and both the House and Senate agreed to fund the commission at $689,000 for the year.

Even so, Brownback earlier this month issued layoff notices to the commission’s staff of five employees.

In his veto message to the Legislature, Brownback said, “In difficult fiscal times such as these, the state must prioritize how to spend its limited resources and focus its attention on providing core services. The arts will continue to thrive in Kansas when funded by private donations, and I intend to personally involve myself in efforts to make this happen.”

Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Arts Commission, said the battle isn’t over. Although the agency has been defunded and its employees laid off, the commission still exists in state statute, he said.

The commission plans to conduct its next quarterly meeting June 16 at the Lawrence Arts Center and will discuss then what to do next, Schwaller said.

“I’m very optimistic we can move forward,” he said. Schwaller said he hoped to build public support for the commission and get the Legislature to fund it again in the future.

Schwaller dismissed Brownback’s statement that arts funding was not a core function of state government.

“I thought fostering and creating jobs was a core function of government, and that is what the Arts Commission does,” he said.

He said the commission provides funding, strategic advice and assistance to thousands of groups in the state.

Additional vetoes

Brownback’s other line-item vetoes include:

• A proposed 2.5 percent surcharge on state employees for their health insurance. Jane Carter, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, praised Brownback for the veto and criticized legislators who put the surcharge in the budget bill.

“The action of certain members of the Legislature was nothing more than a tax on hard-working state employees and their families,” she said.

• A proposed $5.9 million across-the-board cut in state spending. Brownback said he intends to make the cuts but “must have the flexibility to impose them where I believe they can be made without harming key services.”

• A provision by the Legislature requiring the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to report quarterly to legislative budget committees. Brownback said the provision placed “an unfair and unnecessary administrative burden on one state agency.” He said he has directed his administration to “maintain open lines of communication with the Legislature.”

On Friday, SRS announced sweeping employee and mission changes with little public notice.

In addition, Brownback said that moving forward he will again propose no more state funding of public broadcasting.

“I encourage recipients of these grants to make appropriate preparations,” he said. The budget provides $1.5 million to public broadcasting stations.

Legislators will meet Wednesday for the ceremonial end of the session, but it is doubtful there will be any attempt to override Brownback’s vetoes. Such an effort would require two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.


Bryan Anderson 6 years, 11 months ago

Funding the Kansas Arts Commission had Bi-Partisan support, and would mean more revenue for the state. Way to listen to the people, Mr. Brownback.

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

As if Brownback wanted to keep an agency that creates jobs! He'd rather give jobs to his buddies and lose the federal funding.

somebodynew 6 years, 11 months ago

You are making a bad assumption that Brownie actually CARES about the people. He doesn't and that is getting more plain to see every day.

guesswho 6 years, 11 months ago

Arts promotes creativity which is needed in business, engineering, architecture, and numerous other aspects. Such a short-sighted move that will harm Kansas in the near and long term.

1957 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey I got an idea! Why don't you and all your friends get together and raise money for your own promotion of the Arts instead of taking money from people who are struggling just to pay the bills.

You heard about the ongoing economic down turn right? You know the average person doesn't have as much money as before right?

guesswho 6 years, 11 months ago

We lose federal money because of this, and arts creates jobs. It is a matter of priorities, they are not cutting the $8 million subsidy to the Wichita airport. Keeping the arts commission was supported by Dems And Republicans.

Businesses are less likely to relocate to areas that do not have a good quality of life, including schools and arts.

1957 6 years, 11 months ago

Businesses are really less likely to locate in high tax states. I doubt one business will not come or leave Kansas because there is no government Arts commission.

The fact Kansas is threatened by the Federal Gov. does not make it right. This is why sending money to Washington is a bad idea because when it comes back, if it comes back, it has strings attached.

A government Arts commission takes money from on group and gives it to another. This is not job creation but transfer payments.

My earlier question was not answered. Why do you think it is a good idea to take money from people who are struggling for a non essential purpose?

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

Actually, no. States that already have a lot of businesses are less likely to need to be "high tax states." The list I've seen of top business growth states (which came from a biased source) mainly shows states with lots of built in tourism (and contrary to Brownie's fantasy, we'll never be one of those states) or natural resources - or both.

Besides, if you start out with a high business tax rate, then you have negotiating room when you want to land an attractive business. Plus you can use the revenue to have, I don't know... trained employees, infrastructure, customers, etc.

barlowtl 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, and what we have to spare we donate to food banks, and medical services, next we will be asked to donate for education. But of course the cupboard is bare in order for our governor to repay all that support money he received and make sure it keeps it flowing. Face it Kansas has a governor who is bought and paid for. He has as much distain for education as he does the arts

tomatogrower 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey, 1957, I already do contribute to the arts, as do many people I know. So now we have to contribute that much more. Classes at the art centers across the state will have to charge more for classess, leaving our youth to have to do other things. Maybe tagging, volunteering your house?

And when I say our kids I do mean all of the kids in Kansas. I know some of you think you have no responsibility to anyone but yourself, but guess what! I have an idea, you live in a community. Why don't you and your conservative friends try and join it?

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

Tried it in the 19th Century. Turns out children aren't great workers, and they tend to do pesky things like die in factory accidents. If you leave them to their own devices, they do things like rove in gangs steal all your stuff while you're busy working that sub-minimum wage you think will work out so well. Hence the whole decision to educate even the poor urchins.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

I thought you didn't cast aspersions on people's motives.

notanota 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes, because learning to read is so much less important than peeling potatoes or sewing hems. Thanks for another beautiful life lesson from the book of Ron Paul.

Brian Hall 6 years, 11 months ago

What bothers me is that if he legally could, Brownback would stop funding K-12 education. There are articles out there where he doesn't actually say it (t'would be career suicide) but he's already told educators there will be more education cuts over the next 3-4 years.

With the changes in SRS, elimination of the Arts Commission and keeping money out of K-12 education he is hurting the state and there are more painful changes coming you can be sure. And there are still people out there who would vote him again and believe he is God's gift to Kansas.

cowboy 6 years, 11 months ago

petty , can't post the other words that follow or i'll get dissappeared

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Now we'll see if there are enough votes to over-ride this veto.

homechanger 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey guesswho the federal money your say we are losing out on also comes from taxpayers! The Feds do not make money the Feds only print money.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago


But the feds won't stop spending that money - it'll just go to other states.

Alceste 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

question4u 6 years, 11 months ago

Brownback vowed to "protect education." Can anyone who protects his house the way that Flim-Flam Sam has protected education expect to come home and find nothing missing? When you leave the windows open and start stripping off the siding it's not much of a challenge for thieves to get in.

Now Flim-Flam Sam claims that he will personally work to assure private funding of the arts in Kansas. He can probably weasel his way out of this one pretty easily by defining the arts according to his personal definition. But that's the reason for eliminating the Arts Commission in the first place, isn't it?

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

The arts commission budget (real people doing real jobs that benefit others) is .00018 percent of the $3.8 billion dollar budget. Clearly Brownback isn't interested in serious expenses, just making superficial cuts on defensless items like the arts.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, the people of Kansas should demand that all art owned by the state be removed from the governor's mansion and sold, along with the famous murals by John Steuart Curry in the capitol building. As long as Brownback is governor, the least that should happen is that they be covered up with white sheets less he actually look upon state funded art while he serves.

Never trust people who insist that we need less art in our lives. The arts are a form of education vital to our understanding of the world around us. Brownback is clearly not interested in supporting education.

Since the arts commission has bi-partisan support and the support of most people, then Brownback is going against the will of the people. Perhaps a recall is in order.

Even Arizona isn't this silly.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Only if they give us the proceeds when they sell the art.

Bob Burton 6 years, 11 months ago

They gave the arts $689.000 of which about $250,000 would have went to the 5 people who run the arts program.. They could of had $200.000 if they had of taken the money an ran, but no they had to fight, well they lost!! Also if I were you I would hunker down because they are bailing what is left of the wheat crop out here, also heard the yield was 6 to 8 bushels an acre.. Wonder when they will plow that down??

Godot 6 years, 11 months ago

This is fantastic news for the Kansas arts community. Hopefully, now thedonor dollars spent on staff whose sole purpose is to write grant proposals to be scrutinized and judged by government administrators will be spent on actually creating art. My guess is that, instead, the donor dollars will be spent on attorneys and lobbyists in an effort to force Kansas taxpayers to fund the grant-writers and administrators.......because, as we all know, the actual artists work for free.

thepianoman 6 years, 11 months ago

Agreed 1957! So if you all care so much about this cause, I suppose you will be at the KAC's rescue by pumping in your own private dollars???? Remember, this agency means so much to all of you and it creates so many jobs in the state....Got those wallets open and ready to keep this organization alive..Right?? The supporters are all up in arms, so I would imagine you won't let this cause die, right?

Kudos to Brownback. Government has no business dealing with art.

Tax payer dollars should go to providing services to citizens. Art is not a service.

The gravy train has come to a stop, folks. The economy took a big steamy dump a couple years ago. Time to streamline and reduce government, eliminate unnecessary agencies and get with the program.

I'm an art lover. I play piano, go to concerts, go to local theater, etc. I enjoy it. I have to pay to have these experiences, so why should these entities receive government money?? You make money off ticket sales, concessions, etc, etc. Get real.

It's called raise your own funds. Quit using tax payer dollars to fund your projects.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

There are disagreements about what the government should be funding.

I'd rather have my tax dollars go towards funding the arts than towards lots of what it's going towards.

And, I'll be glad to fund the arts out of my own pocket, as long as I can get back my tax dollars that are being spent in ways that I disagree with now.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ” —

Franklin D. Roosevelt, "Message from the President of the United States Transmitting Recommendations Relative to the Strengthening and Enforcement of Anti-trust Laws

Governors Rick Snyder,Scott Walker and Sam Brownback are representing a Nazi Facist type of takeover. Ohio is seeing some very similar activity. Serious recalls are underway in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Why else would Sam Brownback be importing people from Florida and other Bush admin sources for his administration?

angel4dennis 6 years, 11 months ago

His budget cutting skills are ridiculous. What Kansas truly needs is a panel of women who run household budgets right down to the penny and knows how to spend a dime. What is his own annual salary? Just who signs his paycheck? I think it is time to start cutting back on all the politicians salaries and allot that money to fund schools and public television. My theory behind the educational budget cuts is that the government does not want children to gain a good education. Heaven forbid they will grow up to be smart enough to see behind the facade and actually develop a GOOD plan for Kansas!

mloburgio 6 years, 11 months ago

pious sam doesn't want to develop a good state, he wants to create god's state.

when fascism comes to america it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

Lee Saylor 6 years, 11 months ago

'angel' Your question about Brownback's salary: "The governor’s salary is set in statute as $110,707 per year. Brownback is making $99,636, according to the governor’s office." from

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Remember Sam Brownback said he did not want any democratic votes approving HIS budget because he wanted to show the people that neoconservative christian fundamentalist could run government.

This is virtually the same activity that was born under Reagan/Bush that has since represented that reckless governing which cost the country a Savings and Loan Scam with Bush family members personally involved. At a cost to taxpayers of $1.4 trillion.

Then came the Wall Street Bank scam that broke the nation. One of the first dominoes to fall was Lehman Bros in which Jeb Bush and cousin George Walker were on the payroll.

Jeb Bush defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining 4 million plus dollars.

Neil Bush was the most widely targeted member of the Bush family by the press in the S&L scandal. Neil became director of Silverado Savings and Loan at the age of 30 in 1985. Three years later the institution was belly up at a cost of $1.6 billion to tax payers to bail out.

The Bush/Henry Paulson bailout was also a big time scam against taxpayers. There were just a handful of institutions that were terribly weakened. AIG the insurer, Bank of America, Citigroup, those three were clearly in very weakened form. So, many of the other big banks were not. And the best example that they didn’t need this money in the beginning was that many of them, within just a very few months, paid everything back.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

While in Washington D.C. Sam Brownback was trained how to take taxpayers money. But no one has revealed where in the world did all of this money go? These large sums of money did not simply go up in smoke.

Among other things a neoconservative christian fundamentalist government appears well versed in bank robbery.

What is Sam Brownback doing with those tax dollars that were once funding tons of state employees,public education,the arts commission,SRS etc etc etc? Is Sam issuing each taxpayer a refund check? Where is the money?

How much is Sam Brownback paying his imported administration officials? These tax dollar haters.

Mike1949 6 years, 11 months ago

I am willing to bet that close to 50% of the complaints in here are from Republicans. You all voted him in (or the liberals just have given up on fair Kansas government) so don't complain. state congress & house vote a fair cut to the whole state system (in other words everyone has to cut their budget) but he does not want a fair budget cuts. He only wants to cut all the programs that he and self appointed Gods of the right want to cut and even put out of business. Creating jobs is a joke to him (as with all the right) and lets wait and see if he gives tax cuts to business like other Republican Governors. I am sure they are coming.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

I voted for the other guy, which I feel gives me the right to complain about this one.

ihatelv 6 years, 11 months ago

You people are so stupid..........

Let me go turn on my "money machine" and fix the situation....... Why didn't anyone else think of that?

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

Do you really believe that the .ooo18 percent cut is really going to make a difference to the bottom line?

However, to the child who will never get to a museum because the arts commission funding that helped provide the buses for school trips has been cut it will make a difference, possibly for the rest of his life. Further, how much in federal funds has the state turned away by this move?

Penny wise, dollar foolish.

Jimo 6 years, 11 months ago

“In difficult fiscal times such as these, the state must prioritize how to spend its limited resources"

Note that there isn't a second wasted reflecting on why there are "limited resources" or considering how to 'un-little' resources. May God forbid that there'd be a Koch-surtax to fund the schools.

kugrad 6 years, 11 months ago

The' no-government interfering in your life' crowd at work again, going against the wishes of the vast majority of Kansans. This is not the action of a Governor representing the people he was elected to serve. This is not about money either. This is a religious zealot who does not like arts and views them with suspicion due to his extreme religious beliefs imposing his beliefs on the rest of the state under the guise of fiscal reform.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Only if they can afford it.

And, if our taxes don't go down, many may not be able to afford it

And, of course, the loss of federal funding would have to be made up as well.

tomatogrower 6 years, 11 months ago

Liberty just sees an opportunity for he and his friends to make a lot of money raising charity money for the arts.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

So much hate filled vitriol coming from the left. It's too bad you people don't look at this with an open mind and generate the funding privately, there's enough millionaires involved in the Lawrence Arts Center, they can open their pocket books (maybe they'll scrutinize how their donations are being spent that scares?) - it's called turning lemons into lemonade.

Perhaps you folks should be nice to the Kochs and ask them for some money?

George_Braziller 6 years, 11 months ago

The Kansas Arts Commission provided base funding for a lot of organizations so they could pursue additional monies. Donors want their dollars to go to programs or events and grants for simple operation expenses essentially don't exist.

Ask Koch for $5,000 to cover the operational expenses of basic office supplies and a phone line for an entire year? Yeah, right.

Lee Saylor 6 years, 11 months ago

Most government grants (make that most grants) won't cover "the operational expenses of basic office supplies and a phone line for an entire year".

George_Braziller 6 years, 11 months ago

You know that and I know that. I used to write grants for a living so I know the routine.

Big Prune and Brownback are the ones who don't get it.

George_Braziller 6 years, 11 months ago

Most grants also require matching dollars for funding. Hmmm, you have a budget of zero? That's exactly what you will get from us.

Armored_One 6 years, 11 months ago

I'd personally like to know what the actual operational costs of the KAC were, the grand total of federal funds they received, and the salaries paid out to those in charge, for starters.

Do they have reserve funds? Did they spend every single penny they were given?

I read more than once in the comments on this thread about how kids will never go to a museum. I read a couple of comments about how a recall should be enacted.

How about the people of Kansas actually do what the Constitution truly calls for and hold the government to account? It's a contract between the people of this state and the people we elect to govern the masses. If there is such a demand that KAC be funded, then light a freaking fire under the feet of people that can make it happen. If they can't manage it, then get them out and get someone in that can.

To the furthest reaches of outer space with political parties. All it is is a smoke screen. If someone has the right freaking idea, then get them through the door. I don't care if they are a card carrying member of the Church of Satan. It shouldn't matter, but yet it does. Oh look, a republican/democratic name I recognize on this list of people. I'll just vote for that and complain later if things don't go the way I want.

How many times does that happen? I apologize to the forum admins for this, but screw politics and politicians. Light the fire or give up the fight, roll over and die.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

That's exactly what happened - constituents communicated with their legislators, who then refused to eliminate the commission.

Meanwhile, the governor simply vetoed the funding, and laid off the employees.

We'll see if there are enough votes to over-ride that veto.

If you're interested in specifics about the KAC, I'm sure they can be found online.

Armored_One 6 years, 11 months ago

I could find some of the funding that they received, federally, but nothing at all as to what kind of cushion they have, if any. I searched their entire website and found nothing about a grand total of what they handed out last year, or the year before, or basically any year since they were established.

As to Brownback and his sidestepping the issue, how much of the end result is his fault and how much is the fault of everyone that made this big huge stink over it? Before anyone starts pointing fingers, you may as well not even bother. Even if the man told you the bald-faced, no-punches-pulled truth, you wouldn't believe him anyway, so why should he bother? Not you, singularly, but you as a generalized whole.

Since I can't read minds, I'm inclined to give the benefit of the doubt until I discover otherwise. This whole thing has yet to play out completely. You wouldn't jump off a roller coaster just because you didn't like the last turn, would you? Well, some of them around here might. It could be a conspiracy, ya know? LOL

Get the ball rolling in the direction you actually want it to roll. They are not elected and then just left there. The populace has the right to hold ALL politicians accountable. If there was such a massive amount of support behind this issue, don't you think the politicians would have simply circumvented Brownback?

You know, that whole writing a law that KAC can't be disbanded without legislative approval and it will forever get X amount of funding and when he vetoes it, which he very well might, just override the veto.

Did that happen? Maybe the politicians were more interested in catering to the current whim then to actual demand. Put their job on the line and make them actually do what they swore to do when they got in, which is represent the people, not their own vested interests.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

I can only understand about 1/4 of your post.

"You as a generalized whole" makes no sense to me - the whole is composed of diverse parts.

We'll see if they over-ride the veto or not. And, we'll see what they say to their constituents if they don't.

And, then we'll see how people vote, if their desires are ignored.

Best we can do, I'd say.

Armored_One 6 years, 11 months ago

Instead of you, as in "Are you going to the store later?", which is the singular, you as a whole, which would be "you democrats, you republicans, you airline pilots"

I was trying to avoid making it sound as if I were attacking you, specifically, for everything wrong at the moment. That is, at best, rude, and I generally try to avoid being rude. Ruins communication and the flow of ideas.

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Right on, Armored_One, I do so love a good rant.

I'm going to start researching how to go about a recall. Anybody with me?

Bob Burton 6 years, 11 months ago

Sine Die is June 1st, 2011.. It will not even be brought up to override the veto of KAC.. More importantly they will have to get to work killing as many Democratic districts as possible!! All you Liberals & Democrats have a wonderful Memorial day..

bad_dog 6 years, 11 months ago

Your graciousness, compassion and sense of even handedness is almost overwhwelming.

Mixolydian 6 years, 11 months ago

I buy quite a bit of orginal art, mostly from the artist, sometimes from a gallery.

I can't ever recall buying any from the state government.

I can't ever recall relying on the state government to take my children to art museums, I do that myself.

...and yes, we all agree with Merill, every bad thing in this country is the direct result of the 1980's savings and loan scandal...or the Bush family ties to the Saudi's, I cant recall which.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Any of those museums happen to be funded, at least partially, by government funding?

Bob Burton 6 years, 11 months ago

They got there butts whipped for being RINO's instead of Repubicans as they claimed.. And we will get the rest in 2012..

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

I ask Mixo and others like him, have you ever enjoyed the image by John Steuart Curry of a giant John Brown, arms spread wide, rifle in one hand and the Bible in the other, before a waring faction and an oncoming tornado? On the slim chance Curry's image doesn't leap to mind, here it is:

The most famous image of Kansas, known around the world, and it was paid for by state funds.

I simply ask, would Kansas be a better place today without it?

Governments throughout time have supported the arts.

Mixolydian 6 years, 11 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed his works. I don't see a tie between adornment of a newly built capital building and the KAC.

I don't agree with this budget cut by the way. Just putting it in perspective.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

The tie is that they are both examples of state funding for the arts.

If Brownback were governor back then, we wouldn't have the Curry murals today.

I, too, am just putting it in perspective.

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