Wasted ‘education’ on arts funding

Steve Anderson, budget director for Gov. Sam Brownback, suggested to the Wichita Pachyderm Club that conservatives could have been more vocal in defending the governor’s controversial move to ax the Kansas Arts Commission and its state funding. “In hard economic times,” Anderson said, “I would have thought that cutting funding for the arts would have been a fairly easy thing to do. Boy, I got an education up there at the Capitol.” The trouble is, Anderson and Brownback apparently learned nothing: Brownback ignored the public outcry, overruled the Legislature and, though he couldn’t kill the commission, zeroed out the modest funding lawmakers sought for it. And though Brownback just named six people to the commission, giving his appointees control, many still think the state now has disqualified itself from accessing $1.2 million in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.