The arts commission was not allocated money in Governor Sam Brownback’s budget because he planned to move it into the Kansas State Historical Society. He created a foundation that he hoped would raise private funds to promote the arts.
Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, the chair of the Ways and Means committee, told reporters today that her committee adjusted its budget proposal to allocate $698,000 to the commission.
McGinn said that allocation would be 15 percent less than the $775,000 the commission received last year.
On Wednesday, the Senate rejected Brownback’s executive reorganization order to abolish the commission and drastically cut state funding of the arts. Brownback planned for $200,000 to cover the cost of the reorganization, but no funding beyond that.
House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said he didn’t expect his committee to follow the Senate’s example, however.
“I’ve opened it up for our members to make amendments, and I’m certainly not telling anyone what to do,” Rhoades said. “But I’ve not heard from anyone on the committee that they plan to fund it.”
Rhoades said he thinks most of the members of his committee support Brownback’s recommendation. He said regardless of what the two houses appropriate for the commission, the governor can still use a line-item veto when the budget reaches his desk.
“I don’t think he’s got a ‘my way or the highway’ mindset, as he showed with the Human Rights’ Commission,” Rhoades said. Brownback recently backed off a plan to fold the Human Rights Commission into the office of the attorney general.
“But on this issue, the governor seems to be pretty resolute,” Rhoades said.
A groundswell of support, in the form of letters and e-mails, affected the decision by the Senate, McGinn said. Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, agreed.
“We received support from every corner of the state on support for the arts commission,” Morris said.