Archive for Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proposed bill would allow Kansans to donate to arts when paying taxes

January 18, 2012, 10:37 a.m. Updated January 18, 2012, 11:18 a.m.


— Kansas taxpayers would be able to make a donation to support the arts while they are filling out their tax returns under a bill to create a Kansas Arts Commission Checkoff Fund.

The proposal, which is sponsored by 40 Republicans in the Kansas House, coincides with Gov. Sam Brownback's efforts to encourage private funding of the arts so state money can be used on core functions, such as public schools, social services and public safety.

Last year, Brownback vetoed the Kansas Arts Commission's entire $689,000 budget, making Kansas the first state in the nation to eliminate arts funding. His budget for the coming fiscal year proposes $200,000 in state funding for a new Kansas Creative Industries Commission.

The proposed checkoff fund would allow donations of $1, $5, $10, or any other amount specified by the donor, with all the money to be used by the arts commission.

Henry Schwaller, a member of the Kansas Arts Commission who has criticized Brownback's approach, said the checkoff fund would be welcome but he doesn't expect it to raise a substantial amount of money, The Hutchinson News reported.

"My concern is it's not an adequate funding source for a state agency," said Schwaller, who added that people might be reluctant to donate if they don't know how the money will be used.

"There will have to be some clarification," he said.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, one of the bill's sponsors, said the checkoff idea was approved by the Department of Revenue and the governor's office. No estimate is available yet on the possible economic impact.

Brownback's veto of arts funding last year drew national attention and cost Kansas another $1.3 million in funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and a regional arts alliance.

The advantage of the proposed fund is that the money raised should qualify as supplemental state funding to earn federal matching funds, O'Neal said.

"It is a contribution I would make and I'm sure many others would as well," O'Neal wrote in an email to the News.

Taxpayers already can choose to donate to checkoff funds that support wildlife programs and conservation, Meals on Wheels, breast cancer research and a military emergency relief program.


weiser 6 years, 5 months ago

Most of the people who want us to fund the arts don't pay taxes.

ebyrdstarr 6 years, 5 months ago

Do you have any support for that silly claim? Yeah, I didn't think so.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Hey, why stop there? Why not just eliminate all taxation, and do everything by checkoff?

You want roads? Check off the amount you want to donate. You want schools? Check it off, write a check.

I'm sure this would really work marvelously (as long as you're the Koch Bros.)

guesswho 6 years, 5 months ago

Current administration is working on it....

question4u 6 years, 5 months ago

"Why is the government being a middle man here?"

For 1.3 million dollars in matching funds: funds that come partly from federal taxes paid by Kansans that this year will support the arts in other states. Even Sam now realizes that it's stupid to cut off your nose to spite your face.

If deductions for charitable donations are eliminated under Sam's plan, then the only effect of a checkoff is to make private donations look like state funding so that the state of Kansas can qualify for matching funds without actually providing any funding at all. If it works, it will be a slick manipulation of the system, which is exactly what you'd expect from O'Neal.

oldvet 6 years, 5 months ago

A great idea... it would be "put up or shut up" time for those who really love the arts.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 5 months ago

I think a license plate, sold throughout the state, with something like "Arts for Everyone" would be a very useful way to raise money. There should also be other plates, such as "I support Engineering", and "I support the prairie, " "I support senior citizens", just as an example. This would not be difficult to do - there could be all kinds of plates - and many states raise a lot of money this way.

The reason I put "Arts for Everyone" is that these funds shouldn't go to KU people, who already take the majority of funds that are available - they should be for artists who have something different to offer, and probably very little money. I know when I was at KU, all the professors and their secretaries (who type up their proposals) got all the money. I, with very little money and no secretary, could not get an art grant, however small. And I had many friends who had the same experiences.

I am really behind, for example, the muralist who wants to create another wall downtown to replace the old one WITH COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT. It makes a great difference.

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