Archive for Friday, June 21, 2013

Arts advocate says decision by Commerce will delay funding for Kansas arts organizations

June 21, 2013


— The battle over state funding of the arts in Kansas continued today.

An arts advocate criticized a move by the Kansas Department of Commerce to roll over $400,000 in state arts funds into the next two fiscal years.

"That means that $400,000 — money that was designated for grants — will not be spent on the arts this fiscal year," said Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Kansas Citizens for the Arts.

He added, "This underhanded tactic ignores the fact that many arts organizations wasted time, effort and work to put together grant applications that they thought would be funded by June 30th," which is the end of the current fiscal year.

In a letter to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, Kansas Secretary of Commerce Pat George said rolling over "unspent" funds into future years will help the commission nail down matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and give the commission more flexibility in administrating grant programs.

Schwaller, who also serves on the KCAIC board, said, "I don't believe that is true."

The commission, he said, had in place a process to administer grants to applicants from funds in the current fiscal year. "This has just pulled the rug out from underneath them," he said.

The dustup is just the latest in more than two years of fighting between arts advocates and Gov. Sam Brownback.

In 2011, Brownback declared the state shouldn't be funding the arts and abolished the Kansas Arts Commission and vetoed its funding. The action made Kansas the first state to stop state funding of the arts, and Kansas lost $1.3 million in federal and regional matching funds.

Last year, after a public outcry, Brownback and the Legislature established the Kansas Creative Arts Commission and placed it under the Commerce Department, a Cabinet-level agency under Brownback. The Legislature approved a $700,000 budget for the current fiscal year.

The budget Brownback just signed into law, however, cuts the funding to $200,000 for each of the next two fiscal years.

"The loss of $500,000 for each of the coming two years is a huge blow to arts organizations and artists," Schwaller said.


George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

Pat George has obviously not read the basic NEA grant requirements for states. A state-wide plan and two years of implementation is required before a state is even eligible to apply for NEA matching funds. Moving the money to next year just pushes eligibility back another year.

Brownback made the same mistake when he said that cutting state funding wouldn't impact federal funding. It would have taken a 30 second internet search to find the list of what NEA requires. That's how long it took me.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh, I doubt he made a "mistake." In either case.

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

I should have used the phrase "equally clueless" rather than "mistake."

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 11 months ago

Nothing surprises me with these people in Topeka.

question4u 4 years, 11 months ago

Umm...yeah...of course that must be true because you posted it.

TalkSense 4 years, 11 months ago

Ironically, the real losers in this ongoing saga are the small towns across rural Kansas (many of whose residents voted for the Governor) who have limited resources to support already-fragile local arts programs. Larger communities, such as Lawrence, can tap into other sources - including nearby universities - to keep local arts organizations and activities at least hobbling along. The message this story sends is tragic but unmistakeable: Kansas may be "open for business" but it's closed for everything else, including support for the arts at the local level.

question4u 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, it's amazing how many people are ready to call for cuts to something without even knowing what it is or does.

There's a reason that other states did not follow Brownback. Louisiana? Mississippi? South Carolina? Even these havens of slash-and-burn mentality decided that eliminating state funding for the arts was financially dumb.

If you're not really concerned about the future of your state, though, cutting off your nose to spite your face isn't a problem. Besides, Brownback's nose needs constant shortening anyway. It seems to grow longer every time he opens his mouth.

James Nelson 4 years, 11 months ago

Pat George was a respected business man in Dodge City and a well respected legislator. I don't know what caused him to sell his soul to Brownback. He now appears to be taking his marching orders from the most greedy and selfish governor's office in the history of Kansas. God, let us hope we can restore common decency and equitable treatment for all Kansans next year. Sorry Mr. George but you have lost a lot of respect lately.

oldexbeat 4 years, 11 months ago

Remember the day that Pat George (when in the legislature) spent 12,000 dollars on a chartered plane flight (from donated political funds) to fly back from his businesses in California to push and vote for the almost failed casino bill -- Dodge City has the first state casino to open -- although he doesn't live in Dodge City anymore, and the casino from many points of view has screwed up the economy of the town -- oh, wait, right, his business is in California.

Guess Pat George owed someone a lot to spend money like that ?

Check it out. I don't know what business he has in Kasnsas any more. Funny how all those Brownback istan dinizen move money to friends and places out of state. Is that the growth we want ? Hmmmm.

George_Braziller 4 years, 11 months ago

Not sure how even the "math challenged" could read this and think it's an increase. Oh, wait. It's Brownback math so now it all makes sense.

DScully 4 years, 11 months ago

The ignorance of Kansans who voted for Brownback is overhelming, and his concerns for Kansans in general is underwhelming.

Larry Sturm 4 years, 11 months ago

where is all the money that Brownback said was going to be donated to keep the arts alive.

Michael LoBurgio 4 years, 11 months ago

And the Brownback fundraising propaganda machine has already started.

Brownback spinning for dollars in re-election bid

The plea for cash by Brownback identified the two greatest challenges to his re-election in November 2014.

They are:

1) raging leftist reporters in Kansas who conceal "many good things" that have occurred during Brownback's three years as governor.

Brownback apparently requires a pile of money from donors to overcome conspiratorial lack of coverage by newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, and bloggers regarding his achievements. None of these hacks, of course, are Republicans.

"Usually," the text of the e-mail says, "we have to do this without the media's help (but you already knew that!)."

The memorandum to potential donors did praise a June headline in the Capital-Journal, "Conservative Crew Changes Kansas," summarizing action in the 2013 session. It was among hundreds of stories published by the Capital-Journal about the agenda embraced by Brownback since he opened his first run for governor in 2010.

2) raging leftists in Washington who don't want "common sense" reform advanced by Brownback to succeed in Kansas.

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