Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Trump's budget plan cuts funding for arts, humanities and public media

Trump's budget plan cuts funding for arts, humanities and public media

Trump is the first president to propose scrapping funding to the arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities (other items on the chopping list) having always been fought for by both Democrats and Republicans.

Trump's proposed budget, released early Thursday, zeroes out funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Though the budgets of the four agencies are negligible in the larger scheme of federal government spending - $148 million each for NEA and NEH, $445 million for CPB, and $230 million for IMLS - the federal dollars are often used to leverage state, local, and private funding.

Trump's budget proposal does not just slash funding for the endowments, which combined have an annual budget of about $300 million, but is the first of any Presidents' to propose completely eliminating them.

In total, the cuts would remove $971 from the national budget, to increase spending on other agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection, Department of Defense and Homeland Security.

The endowments were created when legislation was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and this is the first time a president has proposed getting rid of them.

"To eliminate what amounts to a very small dollar amount in the overall federal budget has wide-reaching effects and is unconscionable", said Michael Stotts, managing director of Hartford Stage.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement on Thursday that they are disappointed in the proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts because they see its funding has positive impacts in communities in every congressional district in the United States.

"Ninety percent of our funding comes from the NEH".

George Tzougros, executive director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, noted Trump's budget "is only the beginning of the process".

"We're in the creative economy as we speak", he said.

Arts for LA, an advocacy organization dedicated to promoting arts and culture, hasn't received NEA funding for the last two years, Klatzker said. "There's not much of a replacement for that spark to additional contribution if the NEA grant is taken away". But the support goes beyond money, said Museum Director Kimerly Rohrshack. Jesse Helms, to cut funding to the NEA or to control what it funds. Quality of life. Helping kids in schools.

"At that time we were really unprepared to have this kind of debate", she said. More than $900,000 of that went directly to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, through a partnership grant, according to Greg Liakos, communications director for the council. Congress will have the final say about the fate of Trump's budget, and while some conservatives have long targeted arts and public media for cuts, lawmakers from both parties have supported the agencies in the past.

Arts leaders say that stipulation is a strong driver of fundraising, because federal funding, though relatively small, boosts the prestige of arts projects, and that prestige attracts more funding.

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