JOHNSON COUNTY, Kansas - Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing to phase out state tax funding for the arts. Brownback proposed Thursday that the Kansas Arts Commission become a privately funded nonprofit organization.
However, his budget proposal includes providing $200,000 for the Arts Commission during the fiscal year that begins July 1, to help with the transition. His administration estimates that the move would save the state almost $575,000 during the next fiscal year.
Some in the Kansas City arts community question the proposal. Diane Scott manages Artist Incorporated. The group gives business advice to local artists.
“Arts are a very important component for economic development when we look to see where we need economic development over the next decade, we need really innovative people and people learn innovative skills through the arts,” said Scott.
She said the Kansas Arts Council funnels money to art groups and artists throughout the state. Scott said Johnson County groups currently receive about $100,000 from the council.
“They provide operational support to virtually all local arts organizations across the state,” said Scott.
Local artists can apply for grants with the Kansas Arts Council. Elaine McMilian wants to get funding to promote her music.
“I have a product I want to put out. It could help me put together a tour,” said McMilian.
The funding for this type of grant could be slashed if Brownback’s idea is approved by Kansas lawmakers. The Kansas budget must be approved by the end of May.
“It’s crucial to our existence and even in a down economy people still crave laughter and theater and all of those things,” said McMilian.
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