What's the Matter with Kansas...This Time?
Friday, February 18, 2011
As the budget battle heats up, several states, including Michigan and Texas, are looking to zero out arts funding. Last week Kansas got there first. Governor Sam Brownback abolished the Kansas Arts Commission, which has a budget of $600,000 and receives matching funds from the NEA. Kurt called up State Senator Roger Reitz — a Republican — who wants to save the Commission. The Governor's action, Reitz believes, is not a money-saver; he thinks it will actually hurt the state's economy.
Update 3/17: On March 16 the Kansas Arts Commission received a lifeline in the form of State Senate Resolution #1819, opposing Governor Brownback's order to eliminate the commission on July 1. Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Kansas Arts Commission, singled out Senator Reitz for thanks: “We are grateful for the dedication of Senator Roger Reitz, District #22, for proposing and championing the resolution." The commission is safe for the immediate future — but according to an Associated Press report, it still faces the possibility that Governor Brownback will use his power to veto individual budget items on its funding.