As you may have heard, Congress passed a budget bill yesterday that avoids the prospect of a government shutdown and funds the government through September. President Obama is expected to sign the bill soon.
I am happy to report that funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting survived and is included in the budget bill. Congress appropriated $445 million for public broadcasting, about the same as last year, and there are no restrictions on how the funds may be used. Unfortunately, the budget for the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), which helps build and enhance infrastructure, was eliminated. Over the years, VPR has received approximately $300,000 from PTFP to improve and expand its network.
Thanks to everyone who stood up for public broadcasting over the past few months; it was a difficult debate. However, your ongoing support for federal funding of public broadcasting is crucial. We know that there will be renewed calls in Congress to eliminate public broadcasting funding in the coming months as deliberations begin on the FY12 federal budget.
Public broadcasting is one of the most successful public/private partnerships in America, with $6 in local support matching every $1 invested by the federal government. Cutting off federal dollars would negatively impact the millions of people who use public broadcasting every day. VPR receives approximately $600,000 a year from the Corporation from Public Broadcasting.
Despite the tremendous benefits and the support it enjoys from the vast majority of Americans, public broadcasting will continue to face a rising tide of opposition from a vocal, motivated minority determined to slash all federal support for the industry.
If you haven’t already, make your voice heard by joining 170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting, an unprecedented collaboration between American’s public radio and television stations. Its goal is to create a network of local rallying points for members, listeners, viewers and others who value public media as a source of non-partisan news, local cultural programming and non-commercial educational programs.
I encourage you to stay involved by visiting the project’s web site – 170MillionAmericans.org – and registering to receive regular updates in the coming weeks and months. The impact of your participation will be felt now and during the debates yet to come, as we continue to stand up for public broadcasting.
Thanks again for your support of Vermont Public Radio.