February 9, 2016

EDITORIAL: Brownback makes wise decision to cut arts funding

We’re continually shocked at the Kansans (and outsiders) complaining about Gov. Sam Brownback’s line item veto that slashed funding for the Kansas Arts Commission in the 2012 budget.
In 2011, the state funneled $1.5 million to arts organizations like the Kansas City Performing Music and Arts Association, Arts in Prison and the Kansas City Symphony. Many of the funds came complete from organizations like the National Endowment of the Arts, which match state funds.
When money is abundant, we see no reason not to throw financial support to the arts, although we would argue whether “art” is the responsibility of the public rather than private sector.
However, when times are tight, it is ludicrous to spend even the smallest amount on things like the arts. To use an old cliché, we have bigger fish to fry.
Those fish include a brewing and continual fight between the state legislature and Kansas schools who continue to dither over what amount of state funding is “suitable” to educate kids in the state. They include a waiting list of children with special needs who will continue to await funding despite Brownback’s veto of arts commission funding.
As legislators battled to create a balanced budget, projected 2012 shortfalls loomed. Every month a new report states the obvious – the state of Kansas is broke.
And now, state officials are choosing between necessities and wants. We find it shocking that so many believe that art is a need.
A family would never choose to spend money to attend the symphony if they didn’t have money for food or shelter. That’s essentially the sort of choices legislators, and yes Gov. Brownback, have been asked to make in this economy.
Do they pile new and higher taxes on Kansans who are already stretched thin? Or do they make cuts? We applaud the choice to spend less – especially when the cuts are to programs that aren’t necessities.
Regardless of what cuts are made, there will be those who call them abhorrent. Cutting the Kansas Arts Commission – and working to help find private funds – seemed like such low-hanging fruit for a state in need of places to cut. We’re flabbergasted that so many disagree.


  1. I agree with this cut and go even farther and say this should not be part of our state budget, just like I don’t think I should be bankrolling the Chamber of Commerce and the SW Jo. Co. Economic Development Corp. here in Gardner. As I have told the County Commissioners a zillion times, public art at county buildings should be financed by the rich who can afford to pay for it. Too many poor people on food stamps, unemployment, Medicaid, etc. who need the help much more than this expenditure and I say that for the good times as well as the tough times. Those richies love to have their benefit dinner dances and can soothe their conscience when they have them by sponsoring the public art exhibits for all to enjoy.

    But, of course, I detest what Brownback is doing in other areas – the GOP will continue to support and enable the special interests who leech off of the average citizens and he will support less regulation, oversight, etc. of the big boys so they may continue to haul in the big bucks while also jeopardizing our environment and our health…….it is called the GOP way….and one not to my liking as my bank account dwindles in order for the thieves to continue the lifestyle to which they are accumstomed.

  2. DianneS says:

    “When money is abundant, we see no reason not to throw financial support to the arts, although we would argue whether “art” is the responsibility of the public rather than private sector.
    However, when times are tight, it is ludicrous to spend even the smallest amount on things like the arts. To use an old cliché, we have bigger fish to fry.”

    Except, of course, when money is abundant the political winds blow favorably towards corporate welfare and tax relief for major political donors. It’s disingenuous to suggest that should a surplus occur this columnist would greet it with anything but cries for lower taxes and corporate tax abatement to “encourage community development”.

    But times are tight, there’s no denying it. So we are flabbergasted that Brownback and his supporters didn’t consider, before eliminating the Arts Commission, that the NEA won’t provide matching funds to private organizations–only to state or Federal agencies. Seems like the low-hanging fruit would have been taking what was already allotted to Kansas instead of requiring private agencies to start from scratch to raise the entire $1.5 M. So, too bad for you, small town Kansans who aren’t within driving distance of musical performances, an art museum, or a community large enough to support public art. Your governor and this columnist don’t really think it’s important enough to cultivate a sense of wonder, joy, or basic human expression in communities hardest hit by our economic troubles. I guess it’s up to you to find your own source of inspiration. There’s always support for the public library, right?

  3. Who pays for matching funds????? Not the fairy godmother………..”free money” always costs the taxpayers but the worthless politicians don’t spin it that way……there are no free lunches……….

  4. ThePatriot says:

    Diane S: Well said. Bravo!

  5. Daniel F. Tritter says:

    I’ve read your editorial approving the moronic action of sam
    brownback, who seems as stupid as your governor as he was as
    your senator. he reminds me of a statement from the ’30’s:
    “every time i hear the word culture, i reach for my gun.”
    the author of that comment was your cousin, hermann goering.

  6. Unfortunately, it seems most miss the bigger picture on this (and so many other) issue.

    “The Arts” is much bigger than one putting oil to canvas, pencil to paper, or sculpting clay. It may start there, but it often leads somewhere else.

    Do you think the things everyone enjoys on a daily basis, TV shows/Movies, the furniture in your house, the car you drive, the cloths you wear, the food you eat, the tools you use, the songs you sing, were not inspired by the arts?

    These things come from creative minds. These minds, all minds, need nurturing encouragement and support early in life. If we don’t provide the means, those less fortunate than others won’t have the chance to create.

  7. Chris Phillips says:

    Brownback is a moron!

Comments do not necessarily reflect those of The Gardner News, or staff. By posting, commentators assume all liability. Please contact webmaster to report comments that infringe on copyrights, or are of a profane or libelous nature. Webmaster reserves the right to edit or remove content deemed offensive.


Speak Your Mind