Tuesday, May 5, 2009

SB 850 – the unkindest cuts

The Pa. Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget for 2009-2010 is in.

If you aren’t affluent, say goodbye to access.

To the arts.
(SB 850 zero funds arts and culture grants made through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Which means many of the small arts organizations across the Commonwealth that produce and present dance, music, film, visual and performing arts in neighborhoods and communities will be shuttered.)

To funded civil legal services.
(SB 850 eliminates all of the state appropriations that ensure that the poorest among us have access to justice.)

To Pre-K and Head Start.
(SB 850 slashes Pre-K counts by 55 percent and Head Start funding by 50 percent.)

To low cost insurance for children.
(SB 850 cuts CHIP funding, as well as funds for child care, county child welfare and basic education.)

The list is extensive and alarming.

In proposing SB 850 as an alternative to Gov. Rendell’s more moderate proposed budget, the Senate Appropriations Committee has ensured that those most impacted by the current economic recession will find life in the Commonwealth even more difficult – if not impossible – after July 1.

If you value any of what is being cut by SB 850, call your state legislators immediately. Rumor has it the vote on SB 850 will be tomorrow – May 6.

• • •

The image at the top of this post is a public artwork by my mother, Joyce de Guatemala, on Howard and East Huntingdon Streets in Philadelphia. The image to the right of this paragraph, is another of her public sculptures -- this one in front of the Elkins Park Library (http://www.elkinsparklibrary.org/history.htm). And that's my mom in the inset photo.

From my mom I inherited my love for art, and my belief that access to any and all of the arts should be open to all – not restricted only to those who can afford it. While you might be tempted to dismiss arts organizations as less important than the other organizations/programs mentioned above, I urge you to think of a what the world would be like without music, paintings, poetry .... To protect the arts, go to http://ga1.org/campaign/FY10_PCA.

Man will begin to recover the moment he takes art as seriously as physics, chemistry or money.
Ernst Levy, composer

1 comment:

  1. We just went through this in CT, too. The groups that I work with (read: pay me) have been cut to shreds. There isn't even going to be an Open Studios weekend here - which is where 1/2 of my entire year's sales come from.

    Connecticut! With no arts! It's appalling.

    On a good note - it's lovely to see your mom again!


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