Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kansas abolishes its arts commission.

It's pretty lame when governments cut programs and assume nonprofits will/can fill in the gap. From the Kansas City Star:
Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order Monday abolishing the Kansas Arts Commission and replacing it with a private, nonprofit organization.

The move will save the cash-strapped state nearly $600,000 a year, but it has upset some arts advocates who worry about eroding support for the arts and art education.

“Our state faces a nearly $500 million budget shortfall,” Brownback, a Republican, said before signing the order. “Let’s do all we can to protect the core functions of government.”

The Arts Commission funnels state and federal arts grants to local organizations, artists and art education programs. Starting July 1, the nonprofit Arts Foundation will seek private funds.

Brownback wants Kansas to spend $200,000 next year to assist the foundation, and he said additional funding in future years is a possibility. He appointed nine Kansans to lead the foundation.

The executive order takes effect July 1 unless lawmakers vote to overturn it within 60 days.

Arts Commission Chairman Henry Schwaller said he has already discussed that possibility with legislators.

Schwaller worries that the new foundation won’t be eligible for federal funding and that private donors are unlikely to make up the difference.

“We understand there’s a $500 million deficit,” he said. “But our funding is so small — only 29 cents per capita per year — that cutting this is not going to make a sizable dent.”


Steve from Moon said...

There have been a bunch of studies indicating that arts and cultural organizations are economic engines in the municipalities where they are located--generating jobs, tax revenue, and income for neighboring businesses. (Why do you think so many tourists and suburbanites come to NYC?)

Also, instead of slashing government services, how about considering raising taxes on the wealthiest amongst us? (As it is, most of them are not really paying their fair share...) The whole conservative obsession with slashing taxes and government is complete crap--and I suspect the only reason they are focused on it now is to prevent President Obama from improving the economy by enacting WPA-type programs, etc. (during his presidency, their sacred hero Ronald Reagan raised taxes many times, tripled the federal deficit, and greatly expanded the federal government: http://www.alternet.org/story/149812/10_things_conservatives_don%27t_want_you_to_know_about_reagan/).

Steve from Moon said...


Adam Coozer said...

I had a feeling you'd be interested in this article!

Steve from Moon said...