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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.

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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.

Comments

beatrice 2 years, 10 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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Joh...

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.

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SouthWestKs 2 years, 10 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..

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Mixolydian 2 years, 10 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.

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SouthWestKs 2 years, 10 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..

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Armored_One 2 years, 10 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.

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BigPrune 2 years, 10 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?

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kugrad 2 years, 10 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.

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Jimo 2 years, 10 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.

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ihatelv 2 years, 10 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?

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Mike1949 2 years, 10 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.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 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.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 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.

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angel4dennis 2 years, 10 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!

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 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?

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thepianoman 2 years, 10 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.

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Godot 2 years, 10 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.

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SouthWestKs 2 years, 10 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??

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beatrice 2 years, 10 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.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 10 months ago

You heard it here first. Badly played!!!

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question4u 2 years, 10 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?

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Alceste 2 years, 10 months ago

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

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homechanger 2 years, 10 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.

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tange 2 years, 10 months ago

"Legislators will meet Wednesday for the ceremonial end of the legislative session...."

Black, the order for the occasion?

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DeaconBlue 2 years, 10 months ago

No more fiat dollars from the Feds?

Liberals don't understand that money doesn't grow on trees.

Liberals do not donate money barlowtl. Ask any accountant.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

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

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cowboy 2 years, 10 months ago

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

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Brian Hall 2 years, 10 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.

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guesswho 2 years, 10 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.

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somebodynew 2 years, 10 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.

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Bryan Anderson 2 years, 10 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.

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