Topeka Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed providing $200,000 for the arts, but arts supporters said the measure was inadequate and didn’t make up for his veto of arts funding last year.
“That will not satisfy me nor anyone else who is passionate about this issue,” said Sen. Roger Reitz, R-Manhattan.
But Brownback’s budget director, Steve Anderson, said the proposal was an attempt to address concerns of arts supporters.
“We actually listened to what was said,” Anderson said.
Brownback has proposed moving $200,000 to a new entity called the Creative Industries Commission, which would combine the Kansas Film Commission and Kansas Arts Commission and be under the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The $200,000 would then be allocated to arts-related businesses that can show they can create jobs.
Funding for public arts programs would be provided by selling arts supporter license plates and a tax checkoff.
Last year, Brownback vetoed the Legislature’s $689,000 appropriation to the Kansas Arts Commission, making Kansas the first state in the nation to end state funding of arts programs. He said that arts funding was not a core function of government, that private fundraising could replace the state funds, and that the state would still be able to attract matching federal arts dollars.
But the National Endowment for the Arts said the veto made Kansas ineligible for $1.3 million in arts support. Kansas never submitted its application for a partnership grant with the NEA.
Sarah Carkhuff Fizell, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Citizens for the Arts, said she was glad that Brownback made the new proposal but hoped it would change during negotiations with the Legislature.
“We’d like to see more support,” Fizell said. “Two hundred thousand dollars is not two million,” she said.
Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said there were still many unanswered questions about the proposal. Francisco said she wanted to make sure the state would be in a position to be eligible for federal and regional grants.