The proposed elimination of federal funding for the arts, museums, and libraries

Dear Editor:

Where do I start?! I’ve already marched on January 21 in New York for women, and I’ll be in DC on April 29 to bring attention to climate change, as the Trump Administration seeks to neuter the Federal Environmental Protection Agency with a proposed 31 percent loss of funding.

The loss of arts funding in this proposed Federal budget for FY 2018 angers me just as deeply.

This current president sent to Congress a budget that eliminates all arts, humanities, and museum and library funding. To what end? Maybe the arts only meant a networking opportunity for Trump the Businessman yet, for the person artistically inclined, expressing oneself as one’s business is a lifesaver.

The arts areas to lose Federal funding are:

National Endowment for the Arts                          $148 million

National Endowment for the Humanities              $148 million

Corporation for Public Broadcasting                     $445 million

LSTA (Library Services & Technology Act) (FY 2016)        $183 million

IAL (Innovative Approaches to Literacy) (FY 2016) $  27 million

IMLS (Institute for Museum & Library Services)              $230 million

These amounts for arts funding are minuscule (in aggregate, $1.181 billion) compared to the  proposed increase in military appropriations of 10 percent, or $54 billion (NPR) for FY 2018!

According to the American Library Association, both LSTA and IAL still are funded at FY 2016 levels “because Congress failed to enact almost any of the twelve individual appropriations bills that fund specific parts of the federal government and is keeping the governments doors open under a series of temporary authorizations called Continuing Resolutions, or ‘CRs’ in Beltway-speak.”

How dare White House Budget Director Mulvaney falsely equate coal miners and mothers in Detroit as people that shouldn’t have to support Public Broadcasting? He doesn’t know what they watch on TV! I’ll bet they appreciate Sesame Street for their children, and watch many other PBS programs themselves.

The Jersey City Reporter, Page 2, April 5, 2017

The proposed elimination of these arts-specialized supportive Federal agencies will decimate the arts on a local level. By spreading their budgets around through arts grants, these Federal agencies keep local artists alive!

On a personal note, the Institute for Museum & Library Services has kept this writer alive as an IMLS Scholar – through my receiving the Laura Bush 21st Century Library Grant in 2007, I was able to attend Rutgers University on scholarship and earn my Master in Library & Information Science in 2010.

Though I recently retired from the Jersey City library system as its PR person, I’m celebrating National Library Week 2017 (April 9-15) by urging you to contact your local Congressman and U.S. Senators Menendez and Booker to make sure that arts and library funding remains viable, and intact. Thanks!

Michele M. Dupey, MLIS