TOPEKA – Today, legislative and community leaders called on Gov. Sam Brownback to restore funding to the Kansas Arts Commission in his FY 2013 budget proposal. Their request comes in the wake of recent decisions by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Mid-America Arts Alliance (MAAA) that Kansas is ineligible for continued federal support due to Brownback’s line-item veto of funding for the Arts Commission in FY 2012.
“The Governor’s decision to defund the Arts Commission was justified with false pretenses and has had a devastating ripple effect,” said Kansas House Democratic Leader Paul Davis (D-Lawrence). “As he develops his FY 2013 budget proposal in the coming weeks, Gov. Brownback has an opportunity to right this wrong by restoring the funding that the Legislature included for the Commission in FY 2012. Current estimates indicate we have a $180 million surplus, and that number is expected to increase. The state can afford this $700,000 investment to protect 4,600 jobs and secure millions in funds we are currently being denied.”
Sarah Carkhuff Fizell, spokeswoman for the organization Kansas Citizens for the Arts, agreed that the Governor should consider strategies to reauthorize state aid.
"Gov. Brownback has deceptively claimed removal of state funding for the arts would not compromise federal funds," Fizell said. "Kansans across the state call upon the governor to listen to the Legislature and reinstate funding to the Kansas Arts Commission."
When Brownback originally proposed defunding the Arts Commission in February, his administration was deliberate in assuring the public that that Kansas would remain eligible for funding despite his actions. Budget Director Steve Anderson said in a letter to state legislators that “as the official state designated arts agency, the Arts Commission can still receive funding from NEA.”
“Gov. Brownback has been adamant that his decision to defund the arts would ultimately result in increased arts funding and no loss of federal money,” said Davis. “The evidence shows that not only was the Governor wrong, but the arts have lost even more money than anyone originally thought.”
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