Arts supporters decry Milwaukee budget cuts

Posted on: October 15, 2009

In Tuesday’s (10/13) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Larry Sandler writes, “One of the smallest items in the Milwaukee city budget dominated the annual public hearing Tuesday night, as arts supporters outnumbered firefighters in the parade to the microphone. … Those groups were among the residents who packed the Common Council chambers to weigh in on Mayor Tom Barrett’s proposed 2010 budget. … As in past years, most of those who spoke at Tuesday’s hearing focused on opposing Barrett’s recommended service cuts, particularly in the arts and public safety. The budget would cut Arts Board funding by nearly 75%, because slicing city funding from $160,000 to $50,000 would also lead to the loss of a matching $25,000 state grant. That’s a tiny fraction of the $1.45 billion city budget, noted Christine Harris, of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee. … Arts supporters have a powerful ally: Ald. Michael Murphy, who is chairman both of the Arts Board and of the council’s Finance & Personnel Committee. After the hearing, Murphy said he would offer a budget amendment to restore at least some of the arts funding. Barrett said he also would like to see more arts funding if the money could be found.”

Posted October 15, 2009