Skip to comments.Public broadcasting on the chopping block in Virginia
Posted on 12/16/2010 8:33:27 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
Sesame Street residents, beware.
State funding for public broadcasting is again on the chopping block in the package of budget amendments Gov. Bob McDonnell plans to submit to the General Assembly for consideration in 2011.
The governor is proposing a $2 million reduction in the next fiscal year and a full phase-out by the close of the following year to save $4 million, according to administration figures.
McDonnell included public broadcasting funding cuts in budget amendments he submitted to the legislature in the spring as part of a four-year plan to eliminate state support. They were rejected.
While the governor called public broadcasting "a wonderful resource, providing quality programming that is cherished by many," he said there are plenty of other information providers in the free market that compete for viewers' attention.
"Simply put, it doesn't make sense to have some stations with the competitive advantage of being funded by taxpayer dollars," McDonnell said in a statement. "The decision to eliminate state funding of public broadcasting is driven by the fundamental need to re-establish the proper role of government, and budget accordingly."
Paring back funding for public broadcasting has been a goal for the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, which supported some of the amendments from the governor that the Senate ultimately defeated.
During debate on the issue this year, Del. John Cosgrove argued that Virginia has higher priorities in tough budget times than sponsoring public TV and radio stations.
"Personally, I'm going to support policemen and teachers before I support Bert and Ernie," Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, said at the time.
Cutting state money would cost WHRO considerably - President and CEO Bert Schmidt said current-year state funding is $879,000 - and could deprive high school students across the state access to the instructional materials it makes available for classroom use.
Schmidt said WHRO, which is owned by 18 school divisions in Hampton Roads, helped save taxpayers $7.6 million last year through its educational services.
"I want to think the governor cares enough about the students of Virginia, that he doesn't understand the value of what we provide to students in Virginia and that these cuts are misguided," he said, noting that PBS and NPR programs broadcast locally are supported by members, not state dollars.
Asked later about his decision, McDonnell acknowledged that public broadcasting has provided a valuable service over the years, but he argued that most people would agree it no longer makes sense to subsidize those stations with so many other options available.
The public broadcasting cuts were among several McDonnell announced Wednesday to save the state money.
Other proposals include eliminating four vacancies at the Department of Forestry to save $420,000; capturing $24 million in savings from bond issuances because of low interest rates; expanding Medicaid managed care programs to produce $3.5 million in savings; and saving $1 million in administrative expenses at the Department of Social Services.
Later Wednesday, McDonnell and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling rolled out a $54 million package of economic development and job-growth proposals that will be part of the budget amendments the governor submits to the General Assembly.
They include $25 million for a research and technology innovation fund, money for tourism promotion, the revitalization of small-town Main Streets and industrial sites, and a $5 million tax incentive to induce companies to use the Port of Virginia.
McDonnell secured more than $50 million in state funding to support job growth and economic incentives during the budget process earlier this year.
Big Bird’s a billionaire. He doesn’t need taxpayer subsidies.
Public TV is an idea whose time has come and gone. Time to pull the plug and move on.
Virginia has become two states. There is urban-ville surrounding DC, and then the other 90 percent of the state. The truth is...urban-ville is bringing in a vast amount of capital and revenue to the state...and you just can’t overlook their desires (they want public TV and NPR). Adding to this...if you subtracted urban-ville from Virginia...it’d be mostly a Republican state.
Exactly. Taxpayer funded media should be ended across the board with the exception of CSPAN which provides a window that allows all of us to view the idiots in Congress.
“President and CEO Bert Schmidt said current-year state funding is $879,000 - and could deprive high school students across the state access to the instructional materials it makes available for classroom use. “
Hey, I have an idea - send the darlings to a LIBRARY!
The propagandists at NPR and PBS say the government funds only 3 or 4% of their budget. But you can hear them scream all the way to Mars if anyone talks of cutting the taxpayer extortion.
Even if I liked PBS and BELIEVED in PBS and all the other stuff I would NOT be able to justify spending tax dollars on it. There is just no justification for it. None. Never has been, never will be, although Mystery and Masterpiece Theater are often really good!
That said, cut off the public funds.
I think they missed the “0” on on that supposed 3 or 4% of public funding for their networks.
We should NEVER fund the arts with taxpayer dollars. Governor McDonnell is RIGHT on this issue, the funding should be cut.
I urge VA Freepers to email their State Senator and Delegate on this issue. They don’t go into session until Jan 12, 2011 but their emails should already be working for the new session.
Their emails can be found at the link below:
Here is the email form to send Gov. McDonnell a message, thanking him for cutting taxpayer funding of the arts...