July 22, 2011

Does anyone really believe cutting funding to the National Endowment for the Arts is going to solve the deficit?

Does anyone really believe the deficit can be closed by cutting funding to PBS or the National Endowment for the Arts? Oklahomans for the Arts doesn't think so.

One thing is for certain, state arts agencies receive critical funding from the National Endowment for the Arts including Oklahoma. These funds help provide access to the arts for Oklahomans who might not otherwise have arts opportunities.

Furthermore, for every dollar of public arts funding in Oklahoma $9 in economic activity is generated.

Nevertheless, people want to prove their politics and ideologies on the backs of this modest funding. Even though the budget for the Kansas Arts Commission was only .005 percent of the entire state budget, their governor still abolished the agency. Clearly, the arts are an easy target.

Your voice on behalf of the arts is more critical than ever before. Please call your U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma today.

From the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies:

As early as next Monday evening, the full U.S. House of Representatives will begin votes on amendments to the fiscal year 2012 Interior Appropriations Bill, which includes funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. The House Appropriations Committee has proposed a $20 million reduction in support for the arts, a 13 percent reduction from the current funding level of $155 million. This is nearly twice the rate of overall spending cuts for other federal programs in the bill.

The NEA suffered a $12.5 million decrease last year. The cut currently proposed by the House is disproportionate to overall spending reductions, and amendments to reduce NEA spending even further may be offered when this bill comes to a vote.

Please contact your state's members of the House of Representatives. Tell them to protect the NEA from further spending cuts and to vote no on any proposals to reduce spending below the $135 million proposed in the bill before the House.

As Congress seeks further reductions in spending across the federal budget, it is essential that your elected officials understand the public value of direct federal support for the arts. Given the current economic strain on all funding sources, NEA funding is critical in supporting the work of state arts agencies, arts organizations, and national research and leadership initiatives.

You may reach your Oklahoma representatives by e-mail or by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. They are also listed individually at the bottom of this post.

Thank you for taking action to support advocacy on behalf of federal arts funding.
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Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies