Public broadcasting dealt setback in House Appropriations Committee

Cordelia Brown, operations manager at KANU, 91.5 FM radio, works her classical music programming shift at the Lawrence Kansas Public Radio studio in this 2005 file photo. A divided House Appropriations Committee on Thursday rejected 00,000 sought by public broadcasting.

? A divided House Appropriations Committee on Thursday rejected $800,000 sought by public broadcasting.

The motion to remove the funding request deadlocked 10-10 and then Appropriations Chairman Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, broke the tie and voted to kill the funds.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1 included $600,000 in state general funding for public broadcasting, which is a cut from current funding of approximately $2 million. A House budget subcommittee added $800,000 to Brownback’s proposal of $600,000, bringing the total to $1.4 million.

But the full Appropriations Committee action removed that $800,000, bringing the funding level back to Brownback’s original $600,000.

“It doesn’t say government radio, it says public radio and I think it’s time the government get out of public radio,” said state Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane.

State Rep. Anthony Brown, R-Eudora, said voting against the funding was one of the tough decisions legislators had to make to be “real fiscal conservatives.”

State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said with all the funding needs on the state and national level, legislators needed to re-prioritize.

But several western Kansas legislators said that their constituents depended on public radio and public television. And other legislators said that public television, with its emphasis on early learning and children’s programming, was a service to the state.