Former Governor Tom Kean said yesterday he would consider suing over the cuts in arts funding proposed in the Governor’s budget. That prompted this response:
Brigid Harrison, a political scientist at Montclair State University, said it is remarkable that Kean has decided to go to war with a sitting governor over arts funding since he has remained silent on many other issues since leaving office.
Harrison noted that Kean kept his own counsel about the 2006 shutdown of state government, the scandals that besieged former Gov. James E. McGreevey during his administration and even the series of cuts to higher-education funding while Kean was president of Drew University.
“Over the past 20 years, there have been so many larger fish to fry,” she said “This is not about arts funding, this is not about statutory minimums. This is about electoral politics.”
On the electoral politics angle, there was that minor fact of the Governor helping Senator Menendez defeat Kean’s son in 2006. He also serves as Honorary Chairman of the Chris Christie for Governor Campaign. Senator Vitale offered this response on the merits of the cuts:
State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Woodbridge), who served on the Senate Appropriations Committee, says that while the arts are important, ?the ability to appreciate the arts is going to come as little consolation to a child who doesn?t receive adequate health coverage, doesn?t have a safe place to grow up, or doesn?t get a proper education.?
I don’t think anyone wants to see cuts to arts funding, but again this is a question of what else should go in it’s place?