After Public Outcry, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas Is Restoring Funding For Arts Programs
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is rethinking some of his proposed budget cuts.
The budget Lucas announced earlier this month included major cuts to arts, tourism and entrepreneurship programs.
But in a letter to the city council late Friday afternoon, Lucas said he will restore funding to the Kansas City Film Commission and Children’s Mercy Hospital.
At the city’s first budget hearing in February, dozens of filmmakers, artists and arts supporters testified against the reductions.
Lucas now says he will provide $200,000 out of appropriations originally intended for Visit KC, the city’s tourism and visitors bureau, to go to the KC Film Commission, which was slated for a $175,000 cut.
The film office provides incentives to film and television projects and has been credited with luring productions such as "American Ninja Warrior" and "Queer Eye” in recent years.
The original budget also proposed a reduction of $500,000 in funding to Children’s Mercy Hospital, which provides safety net care for children. Hospital officials said they were “completely blindsided” by the proposed cut. Lucas now has proposed restoring $400,000 to the health care provider.
Lucas also says he will provide $75,000 for the ArtsTech Teens in Transition Program, which provides arts programming, conflict resolution and career readiness for teens; $50,000 from the mayor’s office for the Hire KC Youth program; and $25,000 for KCSourceLink, which supports entrepreneurs.
In his letter, Lucas acknowledged that several priorities remain unfunded.
Notably, the budget does not allocate money for a tenant advocate to support renters. Nor do the changes fully fund an initiative to eliminate bus fares in Kansas City.
Kansas City has two remaining public budget hearings — Saturday, February 29 at 9 a.m. at the Southeast Community Center, and Tuesday, March 3 at 11:30 a.m. at the Kansas City Health Department.
Lisa Rodriguez is the afternoon newscaster and the city hall reporter for KCUR 89.3 Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.