Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Budget Phases Out Funding For Public Broadcasting

CPB would receive just $30 million to close itself down in President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 proposed budget.

According to, the draft, which requires congressional approval, would also zero out public broadcasting’s interconnection update program in FY18, as well as the public TV early literacy initiative Ready To Learn.  The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would each get a minimal amount to close down. All were supported in the FY17 omnibus spending bill that Trump signed May 5, with some seeing increases.

The $30 million for CPB is intended to “conduct an orderly closeout of federal funding,” according to the document. The amount includes $16.2 million for personnel, $8.9 million for rental costs, and $5.4 million for miscellaneous expenses.

In the omnibus bill approved this month, CPB received level funding of $445 million for its forward-funded FY19 appropriation.

The draft notes that CPB provides about 15 percent of public broadcasting’s total funding, with the remainder coming from nonfederal sources. “This private fundraising has proven durable,” the document said, “negating the need for continued federal subsidies.”

In addition, the document noted, “alternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly funded programming options.”

“Cutting federal funding for public media would result in a tremendous loss to our country that would be especially devastating for rural and underserved communities,” said PBS President Paula Kerger in a statement. She noted that for about $1.35 per person annually, “Americans reap significant benefits in terms of school readiness for children, trusted resources for teachers and homeschoolers, civil discourse and critical public safety communications.”

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