Archive for Monday, January 30, 2012

Tax checkoff for the arts draws little interest at public hearing

January 30, 2012


— A proposal that would allow a tax checkoff program for the arts drew no interest before a legislative committee on Monday as lawmakers continued to wrestle with Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of arts funding.

No one testified in favor or against the measure before the House Taxation Committee.

Chairman Richard Carlson, R-St. Marys, said the committee will probably approve the bill at some point. The legislation has about 40 House sponsors including House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson.

"It's a fine way for individuals to be able to contribute," Carlson said.

House Bill 2454 would allow taxpayers the option of adding a donation on their Kansas individual income tax form to the Kansas Arts Commission Checkoff Fund. The monies would be used by the Arts Commission.

Last year, Brownback vetoed the Legislature's $689,000 appropriation to the Arts Commission, making Kansas the first state to stop state assistance of the arts.

Brownback had said private dollars would fill in the void and that the state would continue to be eligible for $1.3 million in federal and regional arts funding. Neither turned out to be the case.

The Arts Commission still exists, but as an un-funded group. A private foundation for the arts has raised more than $100,000, according to Linda Browning Weis, who is chairwoman of the Arts Commission.

Weis said she supported the checkoff proposal but that the Arts Commission had not taken an official position on it yet. "We are open to all sources of alternate funding," she said.

Sarah Carkhuff Fizell, spokeswoman for the Kansas Citizens for the Arts, which is working to restore state arts funding during the current legislative session, said of the tax checkoff, "This isn't really public funding for the arts."

The checkoff and a proposal to sell arts license plates will raise some funds, but not nearly as much as what Brownback vetoed and the matching federal dollars, she said.

"We have to have a commitment by the state to fund the arts," Fizell said.

If the legislation were approved, the arts checkoff would join four other, which include ones for Meals on Wheels, Non-Game Wildlife, known as the Chickadee checkoff, Breast Cancer and Military Relief.

Those four together received $415,511 last year.

Richard Cram, director of policy and research with the Kansas Department of Revenue, told the committee that when new checkoffs are added, the already existing ones usually lose revenue. For example, in 2006, the Meals on Wheels checkoff received $219,000. But the next year, it received only $132,000 as two more checkoffs were added.

And the total for the existing checkoffs has also been decreasing over the past five years.

Cram also noted that starting up the arts tax checkoff would cost approximately $88,000 for programming and testing to modify the automated tax system.

On another front, Brownback has proposed spending about $200,000 on a merged Arts Commission and Film Commission. The new Creative Industries Commission would allocate funds to arts-related businesses that can show they can create jobs.


lunacydetector 6 years, 2 months ago

this is a great way that liberals can actually give back to the community from their taxpayer funded government jobs and their love of paying increased taxes.

it'll be 'put up or shut up' time.

WilburNether 6 years, 2 months ago

You make a good point, but consider that the Kansas Department of Revenue estimates that the cost TO TAXPAYERS of putting this checkoff box on tax forms is $88,000 TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

This checkoff thing is a stupid idea. Let the artsy types just write a check, and mail in their contributions. That way, THEY can pay for their recreation and entertainment, not the rest of us taxpayers.

question4u 6 years, 2 months ago

The checkoff "drew no interest" because no one considers it to be significant one way or the other. There will be no way to tell from the checkoff revenues alone whether any new funds are being raised. Donations that would have gone directly to non-profits may simply be shifted to the checkoff. On the other hand, those who increase their contributions to the arts may send their donations directly to the organizations themselves. It's simple minded to assume that the checkoff in itself could be used as a way of learning anything about support for the arts in Kansas. It certainly won't tell you anything about the politics of those who use the checkoff.

Arts supporters undoubtedly recognize that the checkoff at least isn't likely to have a negative effect, even though it may not provide much new revenue. People like O'Neal see an easy way to claim that they are supporting the arts without having to do anything but add a box to the tax form. What is there for either side to discuss about this bill?

WilburNether 6 years, 2 months ago

"Federal dollars" are not money from heaven. They come from US TAXPAYERS, just as "state dollars" do.

Except in the case of "federal dollars," it is probably money the US Government borrows from China.

Squandering borrowed money on things that some may think are nice to have, but clearly are not essential, is just plain STUPID.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 2 months ago

Allow who ever wants to contribute to contribute! It should not be forced on the tax payers!

tir 6 years, 2 months ago

I will give instead to local arts organizations like the Lawrence Arts Center. Who knows what Brownwhack's so-called Arts Commission would do with your contributions.

MariaMarie 6 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps the governor expects all funding in the state to be handled this way. How about a checkoff list on our taxes to contribute to anything we want to support? Well, except big businesses. He's already taking care of them.

Jeremiah Jefferson 6 years, 2 months ago

I can barely pay the rent and eat everymonth. I for sure aint givin no money to no artist

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

Maybe that artist will teach you to stop using double negatives. So, you are giving money to an artist, then?

Jeremiah Jefferson 6 years, 2 months ago

Maybe that artist can go get a real job that pays real money like the rest of us in the real world.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

You do know an artist designed the guns you use to hunt, right? Real artists do have real jobs; jobs in which you benefit greatly and don't even know it! I am an artist. I have a real job.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

An artist created everything you wear, drive, the packaging on your food, the house you live in, the decorations you put up, etc..; everything in this consumerist world has been touched by an artist. Art has a major impact on the economy and the overall sense of pride communities have. An artist (called graphic artist or web DESIGN) created this page so all you ignoramuses can comment on how you do not want art funded. Most of these professionals got their start as basically, fundamentally, an artist. They found ways to create income with their creativity, and at one point, probably participated in a state- or federally-funded art program. Think of how dull and lifeless our world would be without art. Oh wait, you can't, because we would not have many of the things in our life without art.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm forced to pay for a lot of things I do not use. You're argument is ridiculous. A lot of programs that help a lot of people need the funding. Just because you obviously are not a creative-type and would not directly receive the money (but you indirectly benefit from the programs with everything you experience around you) does not mean it shouldn't be funded.

somedude20 6 years, 2 months ago

Too bad Brownback does not have a checkoff (Chekov) box to pay for all of his out of state cronies that have made this state worse while costing us more money at the same time. Let Brownback go checkoff some where!

Jeremiah Jefferson 6 years, 2 months ago

Im not against funding the arts. As was previously stated, art has played a piviotal part in shaping cultures, entire civilizations, and economies for thousands of years. But right now, I'm hungry and need a roof over my head.

asixbury 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree that the government should definitely be doing more to create jobs that people, like you and I, can actually make a living off of. The arts programs do create jobs for artists and other people involved. That is a big reason to approve the funding. I do not believe it should be a large amount of funding; it should be balanced based on the overall budget. The affect this funding has is minimal on each individual tax payer. I would not agree with the funding if it were not.

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