Kansas Governor Sam Brownback released his proposed budget Thursday, January 13, 2010 for the next fiscal year. It calls for deep cuts, including phasing out state funding for the arts. If approved, Kansas would be the first state to convert its arts agency into a nonprofit. KCUR's Laura Spencer caught up with Kansas Arts Commission Executive Director Llewellyn Crain.
Kansas City, MO – Facing a $550 million shortfall, the budget calls for deep cuts to public education, and eliminating more than 2000 state employee positions. It also includes restructuring eight state agencies, and phasing out state funding for the arts.
Brownback has proposed the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency founded in 1966, become a privately funded nonprofit organization by July 2012. If approved, Kansas would be the first state to convert its arts agency into a nonprofit.
The budget proposal sets aside $200,000 for the transition. Administration officials estimate cutting state funding for the arts would translate into savings of almost $575,000 in the next fiscal year.
Kansas Arts Commission Executive Director Llewellyn Crain says, "We're really most disappointed in that it jeopardizes a potential match of about $575,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It's not really a gain to the state, it means that the state would lose funds."
Crain says state funding for the arts has already been cut in half over the last two years. And Kansas is currently ranked 43rd in the country for arts support.
The Legislature votes on the budget in May.
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