Archive for Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Americans for the Arts criticizes Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of Kansas Arts Commission funding

May 31, 2011


A national group Tuesday criticized Gov. Sam Brownback for making Kansas the first state to eliminate funding for arts programs and shut down its government arts agency, saying the state is now "a huge outlier" in how it treats the arts.

Americans for the Arts, based in Washington, also said Brownback's recent veto of the entire budget for the Kansas Arts Commission goes against promises the Republican governor made in his campaign last year to improve the state's economy. Even before his action last week, his administration had told the commission's five employees that they would be laid off June 10.

"It's a huge outlier," Robert Lynch, Americans for the Arts chief executive officer, said during an interview with The Associated Press. "It's the only such decision made this year or in the past 50 years."

Proposals to eliminate state councils or dramatically cut funding have been pursued in several states, including New Hampshire, Texas and Washington, but Kansas is the first where such an effort has come to fruition.

The governor has argued that the arts will still flourish in Kansas with private funding and that the state must set priorities in using limited tax dollars in tough financial times.

But Lynch said the elimination of state arts funding in Kansas is significant because the state has been a leader in developing local arts councils and making sure such funding is available even in small communities.

"Kansas dropped from being a leader," he said. "To have that be the kind of place that dropped to zero is kind of a surprise."

Brownback sought to replace the Arts Commission with a private, nonprofit foundation, which formed in February.

The governor used his power to veto individual budget items to strike the $689,000 that legislators set aside for the Arts Commission in a $13.8 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. He also struck the line authorizing the commission to keep its small staff.

Arts advocates have warned that eliminating the commission could cost the state as much as $1.2 million in federal funds. Brownback had proposed setting aside a $200,000 subsidy for the new foundation in the state historical society's budget, but the Legislature put all funding for the arts in the Arts Commission's budget — meaning none survived the governor's actions.

Officials at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington weren't commenting Tuesday about Brownback's action or whether it will cost Kansas federal arts dollars. But Lynch's group and other arts advocates see that outcome as inevitable because Kansas won't have a functioning government arts agency.


admireed 7 years ago

Thanks Sam. Found core needs and punt the rest

beatrice 7 years ago

The arts are a form of education, which is a core need. "Punting" education seems pretty radical, even for a Republican.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years ago

"Core needs" includes an increased budget for the Governor's staff. How many jobs have they created?

question4u 7 years ago

Interesting metaphor "admireed." Punting is what you do when you're unable to advance. You're suggesting that Brownback, despite being governor for only a short time, has no viable plans and no offense. He's just coordinating a retreat action, right back into the past.

Punting sometimes is the best option, but the trouble is that Brownback shanks his punts. Cutting funding to the arts to save half of 1/100 of the budget doesn't do anything but leave rural communities with fewer cultural events and make Kansas look like the most reactionary, penny squeezing, impoverished and culturally debased state in the nation (and don't forget U.S territories, since even Guam supports the arts more than Kansas will).

The message that Brownback is sending to the rest of the country is that Kansas simply can't keep up with other states and U.S. territories, and has no option but to punt. How is that a message that will make Kansas attractive to prospective businesses?

beatrice 7 years ago

Actually, the percent of the budget is far less than you describe. Rather than half of one percent ($1.9 million), it accounted for just .ooo18 percent of the total budget. Sorry to be pedantic, but I thought you should know that it is even worse than you imagine.

notanota 7 years ago

It's not like Kansans needed jobs, right?

jayhawklawrence 7 years ago

When you erase the foundation that people have made over the years it is pretty hard to restore it again.

I don't know what Brownback is thinking if he is thinking at all.

1957 7 years ago

OK so you are the person that is being referred to in all these "KANSAS as bigoted as you think" bumper stickers I see around town.

Ya feeling all superior enough now?

1957 7 years ago

OK so you are the person that is being referred to in all these "KANSAS as bigoted as you think" bumper stickers I see around town.

Ya feeling all superior enough now?

blindrabbit 7 years ago

Why would the plainest state in the union want to distract from its drab image by having anything to do with The Arts. Sam, growing up in Parker, had no exposure to art, so why do anything to distract from his "Kansas Way" mantra.

bad_dog 7 years ago

Once again, Kansas leads the way-backward, that is.

gkerr 7 years ago

What is this the 19th article in a few days mulling the same resentments at Sam for eliminating public purse support for the arts funding in Kansas?

Hasn't the amplified megaphone of resentment caused the public stoning of the Governor yet? Well maybe a dozen more whining articles will get the job done? maybe not

Sam, hang tough and know that many are in agreement with your decision for fiscal and political reasons. The arts crowd are pretty universally leftists or mushy middlers when it comes to blazing new trails for the arts to demean and ridicule traditional values. Pizz Christ, feces splattered Mother of Christ, bull whipped crammed neither regions all lauded by the Brie and cheese crowds across the country.

Nobody is saying folks can't support the arts out of their own purse and I willI continue to support the Missouri Rep and Philharmonic but my taxes will not be used for arts funding, As we are in recession and thousands of special interests are clamoring for limited public funds- thus tough cuts must be made and the arts are one of those cuts.

I support Sam on this issue. Gkerr

CloveK 7 years ago

Congrats! You saved yourself 30 cents a year!! Bravo! Glad your taxes won't be used to fund children choir and arts programs throughout the state.

Being from a small town in Kansas I was very appreciative of the opportunities I had growing up to pursue interests in the many thing the arts commission helped fund. I am very sad that the children of Kansas may not get the same opportunity.

This is costing the state money and jobs. It is not saving a cent.

Thanks Sam! Ya Jackass

question4u 7 years ago

Well, the stupidity of leaders does draw media attention. Just ask Virgil Peck.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"The arts crowd are pretty universally leftists or mushy middlers"

And that pretty well sums up the real reason for the cuts to the arts commission.

It was fiscally neutral at best, probably even a net step backwards. But it did satisfy the need of people like gkerr to throw an ideological tantrum against all those evil doers he's so resentful towards for having the temerity to have opinions and ideas different from his own.

Never mind that the programs that Arts Commission was instrumental in helping to advance were largely apolitical, gkerr's prejudices required the burning of some sort of effigy, and Sammy was happy to oblige.

beatrice 7 years ago

Any surprise that Cabela's is one of the states most popular tourist attractions? Don't expect that to change any time soon. Other states have great, natural beauty or amazing museums and the like. Kansas has a sporting goods store.

For businesses that look for things like cultural amenities before relocating to a new area, don't expect a positve response. Brownback's move likely has cost Kansas far more than most will ever know, much in the same way Arizona shot itself in the foot and lost countless millions in business (lost conventions, boycotts, etc.) due to SB1070. Politicians pandering to the uber right wing might get people elected, but it ends up costing states money and jobs. Can Kansas really afford to throw jobs away?

gkerr 7 years ago


For over 70 years we have pandered shamelessly to the left and in the process built up 30 trillion in debt, 15 trillion actual and at least that amount in future account liabilities and the Left wants to continue to borrow, tax, and spend.
Only the logic impaired want to keep on deficit spending. Their one main solution to the deficit is to tax, tax, tax, and further dry up capital available for business formation, innovation and development. Ruinous. Enough is enough. Gkerr

drsloth 7 years ago

Are you being serious here? I honestly can't tell. Pandered to the left? 70 years? Have you even been in the country? We've had Reagan, Bush Jr and Senior, a republican house and senate and none of you have accomplished anything but make the debt worse!

You want taxation? Increase taxes on the wealth and the corporations. Those are the only people who have any money to spend!

You want to cut programs? Why cut this little speck of funding when you could reduce the military budget by 10% to fully fund every cut program in the last decade.

Fixing the economy requires support for all programs, not just a few. Reducing useless spending is a must, but the arts commission was far from useless.

tomatogrower 7 years ago

I wish a good investigative journalist will tell us in a few months how many jobs has Brownnose eliminated and how many he has created. And how much he has "shrunk" the government. Do you think he'll give jobs to artists and museum curators for inspecting abortion clinics?

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

the more tax cuts = more unemployed = typical neoconservative reckless response

Brownback does not believe in employment which again reveals his consistent dishonesty and incompetence.

Recall Sam Brownback!!!

GardenMomma 7 years ago

Wow, $689,000 divided by $13.8 billion is 0.000049927536232 What a savings!

That works out to be nearly 0.005% of the budget.

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

I am so disappointed in Gov Brownback. Doesn't he know that he could have kept the Arts commission by taxing the lawnmowing businesses? They would love to pay for it. Just ask Merrill!!!!!!

Stephen Roberts 7 years ago

I apologize, i sent send to quickly. What I meant to say was to increase the taxes on lawn mowing businesses by the 700K for the Arts Commission. That would make Merrill have to work more and cut and paste less. Look we all win.

somedude20 7 years ago

This bum's idea of art is a blacklight jesus painting (fyi if there ever was a jesus he was not white skinned, sorry virgil peck he would be a feral hog...still want to shoot?)

Paul R Getto 7 years ago

Like most of this fool for god's agenda, the arts issue is ideology, not "budgetology." === "Brownback doesn’t demand that everyone believe in his God -- only that they bow down before Him."

BigDog 7 years ago

If this was such an issue for a majority of Kansans ..... Why was there no a greater public effort or outcry to get the veto overridden?

A few articles in the paper or letters to the editor would not be considered a major push ..... it appears that most Kansans didn't see this as a funding priority.

jafs 7 years ago

There was a major outcry from constituents to their representatives, which is why they originally refused to de-fund the commission.

We'll see whether they over-ride the veto, which would be consistent with their earlier position, and reflective of the vast majority of their constituents who contacted them, or not.

BigDog 7 years ago

The attempt at an override in the House took place this morning ..... vote was 50-44 in favor of override .... they needed 84 votes to override.

Don Whiteley 7 years ago

For all the hype, I can't recall a single thing the Kansas Arts Commission has done since its inception. Now maybe it works behind the scenes and nobody publicizes its accomplishments, but I'd like to see a list of what the commission has actually done. If we're paying a commission of art critics to sit around and discuss whether throwing $100 bills out a third story window represents art, then good riddance. Every government organization has to be responsible to the taxpayers. And not that I like the man, but there's a lot of rumblings about Brownback handing their duties over to a private, non-taxpayer funded organization. Sounds like that might be an idea worth exploring.

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