Friday, May 15, 2009

SB-850

Pennsylvania voted on its state budget week or so ago. Why am I mentioning this now? Because today when I got home, I was greeted by a letter from Sen. Larry Farnese. I had sent him an e-mail the evening before the vote, asking him to vote not to completely cut out arts funding from the state budget. I sent the e-mail with the help of the Phila. Cultural Alliance, who did their best to rally everyone to protest the line cuts. Farnese voted against the proposal, but regardless, it passed.

$0 for arts/culture, including museums. We're not just talking about funding people to stick Jesus in a jar of pee again, here, we're talking about funding cultural institutions that people use regularly, that schools take kids to on field trips, that people value and that make this a decent (if not great) state.

Is utterly ridiculous. And it's not all that is wrong with the new budget, which I didn't know until reading the Senator's response. The new budget cuts funding for education, for public welfare, for libraries, for job training (at a time when many people are unemployed). What's more, according to the letter, the cuts "jeopardize PA's eligibility for federal stimulus dollars."

What the hell. Actually, more like what the fuck. And also, why am I not hearing anything else about this? I read the paper, I read the blogs, I write for a Philly blog (Phillyist). I remember a few years ago (2004), Street threatened to cut arts/culture funding for just the city, and we were out there, rallying in the park, wearing buttons, protesting. Even just recently, when Nutter proposed axing 11 libraries (from a 54 library system), the teeth and the protesters came out, leading him to nix that idea and consider other options (which may actually be worse, in my opinion).

PA's a big state, and Philly is on the far edge of it, geographically and politically. But surely, we can do something more about this. And I realize that there is no money. But if there's no money, and the Federal Gov't is offering stimulus money, and the budget threatens that. . . someone show me where the sense is. And someone show me where the grassroots stuff is. Anywhere?

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