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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback


Aug. 25, 2011

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What’s the matter with Kansas? At the moment, it’s Governor Sam Brownback. When the first-year Republican governor laid off the Kansas Arts Commission’s 12-person staff and vetoed its funding, he also sabotaged its regular $1.2 million in partnership grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Wichita Eagle reports.

Brownback proposed a "new vision for funding of the arts" that involved a new Kansas Arts Foundation, and even donated $30,000 in leftover campaign funds to the new organization. But NEA found that the new body was “not fully operational” and, furthermore, could not show that it was receiving state matching funds for NEA's federal money. The Mid-America Arts Alliance is still deciding whether or not to provide its usual $400,000, but the commission expects it to decline.

The local advocacy group Kansas Citizens for the Arts issued a statement in response to the governor’s cuts: "Governor Brownback has repeatedly and misleadingly claimed that his veto of state funding for the arts would not endanger $1.2 million in federal matching funds. With the state projecting a $180 million year-end surplus, we call upon the governor to listen to the Legislature and reinstate funding to the Kansas Arts Commission."

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