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Literary Chopping Block: Is Your State Next?

As pointed out in this notice from Creative Nonfiction, this is not just a Pennsylvania issue – it’s one that, if your state hasn’t been hit with already, you should be proactive about confronting:

Times are tough, but when your State Senate passes a budget that includes ZERO FUNDING FOR THE ARTS, you know you’re in trouble. And that is exactly what’s happening here in Pennsylvania.

To put this in perspective, the funding CNF receives from the state is equivalent to the yearly amount we spend paying our writers… and paying writers is a good thing, no?

Thankfully, bureaucracy moves slowly, and there’s still time to take action. If you live in Pennsylvania, then the following information is for you. Even if you don’t, you may want to pay attention, this could be a sign of things to come across the nation.

From the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council:

Yesterday afternoon the Pennsylvania Senate passed its version of the FY 2010 state budget (SB 850) with a 30-20 vote. The bill, introduced on May 4, eliminates all arts and culture grants in the state through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). While this is an unfortunate occurrence, the budget process isn’t complete yet.

Appropriations Chair Dwight Evans introduced the House budget bill (HB 1416) which includes funding for both the PCA and the PHMC. The House will act on this piece of legislation later this month, so it is important for anyone who cares about arts and culture to continue to communicate with their legislators about this issue. The two bills will then go into what will likely be a contentious conference committee before its final passage in the General Assembly…

…Be sure to thank [your representives] when they vote favorably for issues that are of importance to you. At the same time, it is equally important to let them know when they vote in a manner that is not representative of your views… See how your State Senator voted on SB 850.

If you have yet to contact your legislators about ensuring that funding for arts and culture is included in the FY2010 Pennsylvania State budget, we urge you to do so today, before it is too late. To locate your legislators please visit the Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania website.

Please, if you’re a PA resident, take a moment to contact your legislators and urge them to support funding for arts and culture in the 2010 budget.

Spread the word!