Tuesday, February 5

Bush budget rewards Smithsonian but cuts PBS

I've been digging through the scary $3.1 trillion budget proposal Bush presented recently. Not surprisingly, the Republicans put a lot of domestic programs on the chopping block.

However, the Smithsonian Institution, the largest of the cultural accounts in the federal budget, received a proposed overall increase of $33.8 million in the 2009 budget request the White House.

It looked like the Smithsonian's budget would be trimmed, as politicians warned the institution that it needed to shape up. But despite the turmoil, the Smithsonian received $682.6 million for fiscal 2008, which ends in October. That was a $47 million increase from the previous year. Yesterday's proposal for fiscal 2009 is a response to pleas from Smithsonian officials that more help is needed to reduce a backlog of repairs that totals $2.5 billion. The proposal includes $128 million for facilities, up from $105.4 million in 2008. That includes continued funding for improvements at the National Museum of Natural History and the National Zoo. In another category, the budget proposal gives the Smithsonian $69.1 million for maintenance, a boost from $51.4 million in 2008.
The budget proposal wasn't too kind in its recommendation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:
In another proposal, President Bush recommended substantial cuts in the 2009 and 2010 budgets of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He proposed eliminating $200 million from the already approved $400 million for 2009 and $220 million from the $420 million passed by Congress for 2010. The CPB, which oversees and funds public radio and other public broadcasting operations, gets funding allocations several years in advance, although those can be changed. For the past eight years, Congress has overridden the president's cuts and restored full funding.
Looks like we're going to try harder for the 9th straight year to override those cuts again. Although, with all this fighting... it reminds me to ask... "What would Mr. Rogers do?"

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