Public broadcasting received an unwelcome surprise in the administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2009—a total proposed cut of some 56 percent in funding.
The proposed budget includes a $200 million rescission from the $400 million already appropriated by Congress for FY 2009 for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB), and a $220 million rescission from the $420 million already appropriated by Congress for FY 2010. If enacted, these cuts would represent a 56 percent reduction in funding from CPB’s FY 2008 levels and would be felt in all CPB programs, beginning with the station Community Service Grants, according to the Association of Public Television Stations, which represents public broadcasters on Capitol Hill.
“This is the eighth year in a row that this President has tried to gut Public Broadcasting and this will be the eighth year in a row that we will have to persuade Congress to ignore his cuts,” said APTS President and CEO John Lawson. “This is some legacy the President is leaving for noncommercial media. The President’s cuts are tailored to inflict maximum damage and contradict the goals of Congress and the public.”
The recommendations also call for no CPB advance appropriation for FY 2011, and no additional funding for FY 2009 for Public Broadcastings’ digital conversion and facilities upgrades. Advance funding is a longstanding practice that allows stations to insulate programming decisions from political influence, maximize funding efforts, and have the critical lead-in time needed to plan and produce programming, APTS said.
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