We’ve heard from many listeners who share our concern about the potential loss of federal funding for public broadcasting. The situation in Washington is fluid, so I wanted to update you on the latest news.
In an effort to avoid a March 4 shutdown of the federal government, the House passed a short-term, continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for two more weeks. While this stopgap measure cuts $4 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2011, it continues to fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) at current levels.
This is not a guarantee that public broadcasting won’t be targeted for elimination again in a few weeks, but this short-term CR gives us more time to speak up and spread the word. The good news is that your efforts are helping! In the VPR listening region and around the country, public media users have contacted their representatives to voice their support of federal funding.
The exclusion of public broadcasting from the list of targeted cuts in the short-term CR is a clear victory. But the battle is far from over and we still need your help. The threat remains real as the Senate will likely be asked to vote on the CR that the House passed in February, which eliminates all federal funding for public broadcasting.
The total federal appropriation for public broadcasting for this fiscal year comes out to just $1.35 per American citizen. This compares to Germany’s $25, Canada's $44, Japan’s $60, Britain’s $80, and Denmark’s $100 per person investment in their public media.
I know that times are hard and tough choices need to be made. But I also believe the return on the investment made by the federal government in public broadcasting does more than fund station operations; it strengthens communities and provides the educational, economic, and cultural impact we need - especially now.
I believe our country needs public media today more than ever, and I hope you will sign up at 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting to stay informed about the situation.
Many thanks for all you do!