South Carolina saves state arts funding through bi-partisan support

Posted on: August 3, 2011

In Tuesday’s (8/2) New York Times, Robin Pogebrin writes, “Who knew that government funding for the arts would represent the kind of common ground where Republicans and Democrats could meet? But when Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina tried to zero out money for the arts in her state budget last month, both parties said no. The House and the Senate, both controlled by Republicans, voted to override the Republican governor’s veto of $1.9 million in funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission. The House vote was 105-8 ; the Senate 32-6. ‘We had strong, solid bi-partisan support,’ said State Representative James E. Smith, Jr., a Democrat from Richland County, who started the legislature’s arts caucus. ‘It’s a smart investment for our state. It means jobs and economic opportunity and a better quality of life.’ South Carolina is one of several states that considered severe cutback in its funding for the arts for the coming fiscal year. Thirty-one states ultimately cut their budgets and in Kansas, the governor—the Republican Sam Brownback—eliminated all funding. … Robert L. Lynch, the president and chief executive of Americans for the Arts, said the veto shows residents’ recognition that ‘the arts are big business in South Carolina.’ … Nonetheless, funding levels for the arts in South Carolina are still 16 percent lower in this budget than in last year’s, and 55 percent lower than in 2008.”

Posted August 3, 2011