Friday, January 20, 2017

Report: CPB, The Arts Targeted For Funding Cuts

Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.

The departments of Commerce and Energy would see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State would see significant cuts and program eliminations.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Overall, the blueprint being used by Trump’s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.

Patrick Butler
Variety reports Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations, which advocates for public television funding, said that proposals to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting “have been circulating around Washington for years and have been soundly rejected on a bipartisan basis.” He noted that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives rejected such a proposal in a 132-294 vote in 2015.

The Government Accountability Office, he said, concluded after a comprehensive study that “there is no viable substitute for the federal funding that ensures universal access to public broadcasting programming and services, especially in the heartland of America where President-elect Trump’s support was particularly strong.”

The federal appropriation for the CPB in 2016 was $445 million. It distributes money to stations across the country.

“The federal investment in public media is vital seed money — especially for stations located in rural America, and those serving underserved populations where the appropriation counts for 40-50% of their budget,” the CPB said. “The loss of this seed money would have a devastating effect. These stations would have to raise approximately 200% more in private donations to replace the federal investment. Moreover, the entire public media service would be severely debilitated.”

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