“Gov. Sam Brownback plans to resume state funding of arts programs and merge the arts and film commissions to focus on job creation under the new state budget outlined January 12.
The proposal would establish a Creative Industries Commission within the state Department of Commerce and provide $ 200,000 for both arts and film programs. That’s the same subsidy Brownback offered for the Arts Commission last year, when he proposed eliminating the body and turning the administration of arts grants over to a private, nonprofit foundation.
Legislators rejected last year’s plan; Brownback responded by vetoing the commission’s entire $ 689,000 budget, making Kansas the first state to eliminate funding for arts. That decision prompted the National Endowment for the Arts and a regional arts alliance to cut funds, costing the state an additional $ 1.3 million.
Budget Director Steve Anderson presented the governor’s latest proposal to the House Appropriations Committee and said the administration had listened to the complaints about the governor’s veto. Brownback’s actions brought Kansas national attention.
‘We funded the arts,’ Anderson said. ‘That was a bit of a hot point last year.’
Under the proposed budget, the Creative Industries Commission would ‘focus economic and workforce development efforts to expand creative industries across the state.’”