The Republican presidential candidate now has voiced PBS president/CEO Paula Kerger’s worst fears. On Wednesday Fortune magazine unveiled an interview with Romney with these specifics:
Fortune: You’ve promised to cap government spending at 20% of GDP. Specifically where will you cut?
Mitt Romney: There are three major areas I have focused on for reduction in spending. These are in many cases reductions which become larger and larger over time. So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs — the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to stand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.
Already, in July, House Republicans proposed zeroing out by 2015 federal funding for public broadcasting for TV and radio during the same week that PBS received 58 Primetime Emmy nominations. Kerger warned at the summer Television Criticis Association presentation that a number of stations in underserved areas will go dark as a result. It also would affect funding for NPR. Federal funding represents 15% of the PBS budget – but given local differences in how some stations are funded, federal funding can represent 50%-60% of the budget for some stations.
Related: TCA: PBS CEO On Congress De-Funding