States start to target arts funding
Earlier this week, by executive order, Gov. Sam Brownback abolished the Kansas Arts Commission. He proposed instead a nonprofit to fund the state's arts organizations through private funds.
This is the time of year state governments roll out proposals, cuts and eliminations, so the action in Kansas wasn't encouraging for arts organizations. In Texas Gov. Rick Perry asked the legislature to eliminate the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission. The two agencies received a combined $10 million last year. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley also proposed elimination of the state's arts commission.
This strategy isn't going to work, said Jonathan Katz, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and a former executive director of the Kansas commission.
"The state's investment in the Kansas Arts Commission generates jobs and tax revenues that would be sorely missed in the current economic environment. The elimination proposal does not take into account the loss of federal funding," Katz said.
Katz said Kansas would lose $778, 200 in federal funds, without the state funds, and other grants.
In New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a 10 percent cut to arts funding.
The Kansas Arts Commission had a budget of $600,000. Brownback said the move was made to help the state's budget shortfall. Brownback suggested the state give $200,000 to the new foundation, which is set to start July 1.
The state lawmakers can overturn the governor's executive order.
Meanwhile the federal arts agencies are waiting for the President's 2012 budget proposal, which could be sent to Congress as early as Monday.
| February 9, 2011; 11:56 AM ET
Categories: Jacqueline Trescott | Tags: Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Sam Brownback, state arts commissions
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