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House Continues to Display Fiscal Irresponsibility As It Increases the NEA's Budget

For Immediate Release. July 19, 2002Members of Congress speak of the need for fiscal responsibility in America's corporations.  Yet they do not practice what they preach as they continue to display fiscal irresponsibility with the hard earned money of the American taxpayer.  This was demonstrated as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 234 to 92 on July 18, 2002, to approve an increase of nearly 10 percent in the 2003 budget for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Unfortunately, 42 Republicans voted with many Democrats for the amendment to give the NEA $10 million more than President Bush requested, bringing the total budget for this agency to $120 million.

Just a few years ago, the 104 th Congress voted to phase out the NEA over a period of three years.  “This commitment to end federal involvement with the NEA must be revived,” said Dr. Joel P. Rutkowski, president of the American Voice Institute of Public Policy.

The NEA is a federal agency that oversees a fundamentally unfair transfer of wealth from lower-income people up because humanities scholarships, symphony orchestras and art museums are enjoyed predominantly by people of greater than average income.  The purpose of the NEA is to bring the finer arts to those who do not already patronize them.  However, the percentage of low-income people in such audiences has failed to increase despite the subsidies provided.  Furthermore, private giving to the arts rose dramatically when the NEA budget was cut in 1995.  In 1996, the NEA received less than one percent of its $10.96 billion budget from contributions by private corporations, foundations, and individuals.  The nonprofit arts are a $37 billion industry according to the American Arts Alliance.  So one can clearly see that this industry does not need a government hand-out to survive or to enrich the development of the arts in the U.S.

“Since it is outside the range of the proper functions of government, and as such it needlessly politicizes, and therefore corrupts an area of life that should be untainted by politics taxpayer, subsidy of the NEA is inappropriate,” stated Dr. Rutkowski.  “And instead of its budget increasing it should be phased out completely.”

For Interviews Contact:

Joel P. Rutkowski, P.h.D.
President, The American Voice Institute Of Public Policy

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