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House Committee Recommends Restoring Funds to Kansas Arts Commission

Update: The House Appropriation Committee voted against the recommendation. Kansas is facing a nearly $500 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. Last week, Governor Sam Brownback announced his decision to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission, with an expected savings of about $600,000. A House budget committee this week has rejected Brownback's plan. And the recommendation is expected to go before the House Appropriations committee this morning.

By Laura Spencer


Kansas City, Mo. – The House Education Budget Committee met Monday and Tuesday and voted to restore about $800,000 in state funding to the Kansas Arts Commission. And a motion to accept Governor Brownback's proposal was defeated by a 2-5 vote.

Brownback issued an executive order last week to cut state arts funding and set up a nonprofit called the Kansas Arts Foundation, under the Kansas Historical Society.

Democratic Representative Valdenia Winn of Kansas City, Kansas says there were concerns the cuts would COST Kansas more than $1.2 million in matching federal and regional funds.

"The manner in which it (the Kansas Arts Commission)'s being just cut off at the head right now is too abrupt to really make any plans to transition," says Winn. "It can move in that direction (of a 501c3), but we felt that it was important to retain it as an independent state agency for right now."

If Brownback's proposal is not rejected by the Kansas Legislature, the order to dissolve the Arts Commission will take effect on July 1st.

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Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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