Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Americans for the Arts Weighs in on FY 2009 NEA Funding

I received this press release today.

Americans for the Arts Responds to the Administration's FY 2009
Arts and Culture Funding Recommendations

Washington, DC—February 4, 2008—Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch gave the following statement on the release of the president’s budget for FY 2009:

“On the heels of signing the largest Congressionally-initiated funding increase for the arts in 28 years, President Bush has proposed a senseless $16.3 million cut for FY 2009 for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—from $144.7 million to $128.4 million. After three years of minimal, but incremental, funding growth, we are sorry to see an attempt at this progress erased. Americans for the Arts calls on Congress to restore full funding to the NEA at its FY 1992 level of $176 million, which spurred significant economic growth, artistic achievement, and accessibility to the nation’s cultural organizations across the nation. The nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity annually for the U.S. economy, supports 5.7 million full-time jobs, and returns $12.6 billion in income tax revenue back to the federal government.

In May 2007, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, led by Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA), approved $160 million in funding for the NEA—$32 million more than the White House’s FY2008 proposal. We applaud Congress for its continued and significant support of federal arts and culture funding.

It is also disappointing to see the Administration’s efforts to zero out funding for the eighth consecutive year to the U.S. Department of Education’s arts education programs budget. Arts literacy is as central to an educated citizenry as are reading, math, and science. The Administration needs to understand the role of arts education in developing an innovative and creative society.

Finally, the President has proposed a nearly 60 percent rescission cut to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), despite Republicans and Democrats in Congress having appropriated $400 million in forward funding. The CPB allows for public broadcasters nationwide to air a broad range of high-quality arts and cultural programming.”

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