Tue. Nov 19th, 2019



New Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin proposes deep spending cuts for many state agencies, including those in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. In the days leading up to the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address, rumors had circulated that Bevin would eliminate funding to the Kentucky Arts Council, the agency which develops and promotes the arts. Bevin did not do that, instead reducing the agency’s budget. Tammy Duff, who chairs the Appalachian Arts Alliance, says the arts are crucial to diversifying the economy in her region of the state – something she fears budget cuts will hamper.

As part of his overall plan to reduce state spending by 650 million dollars, Bevin proposes cutting Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet funding four and a half percent in the current fiscal year and nine percent in the two-year biennium that begins July first. The Kentucky Arts Council is one of 15 agencies in that Cabinet.
Duff says for supporters of the arts…

She believes it will bring new energy to advocacy efforts by the arts community. According to an analysis by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, with Bevin’s budget cuts included, funding for the Kentucky Arts Council would be 37 percent less than what it was in 2008 – 47 percent less when inflation is factored in.
\Jenny Williams, who teaches English at the community college in Hazard, says the arts need to be at the base of the transition into a post-coal economy. She says it’s not about just spending, it’s about making an investment in a community’s future.

The governor’s proposed budget now goes to the legislature, where the Kentucky House will be the first to make changes.