“What are the essential functions that government should be responsible for doing?”
That was the question Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, asked Montana lawmakers in 1999 when he was a state representative there.
Vick was referring to his proposed legislation to eliminate the Montana Arts Council, something he told IdahoReporter.com he would be interested in doing with the Idaho Commission on the Arts, if he could get enough support. He twice tried to eliminate the arts council in Montana, but to no avail.
As for his attempt to eliminate the commission in Idaho, Vick says he has spoken with several other senators and, while there is some support, the amount of money going to the commission—Gov. Butch Otter is recommending a budget of $1.8 million—doesn’t convince other lawmakers that the fight is worth it. Plus, he says, some believe the commission is a good thing.
“Some (legislators) are, ‘I agree with you, but it’s not worth the fight.’ And some are, ‘No, I think it’s an important part of our Idaho culture and we should do it.’ That’s not to say there wouldn’t be any support, but currently, there’s probably three to five senators is all,” says Vick.
Regardless of other legislators’ support for Vick’s wish to eliminate the Idaho Commission on the Arts, he stands firm in his opposition to the government’s involvement. “I will not support their budget, and I have not supported their budget, when it comes to the Senate floor.”
Vick says he’s not planning on proposing legislation this session, though he would “certainly” consider it if he could get enough support.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a person with a view of limited government to funds arts,” he says, whether it is in Montana or Idaho.
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