President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget released today would cut federal spending by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years and do so by drastically slashing or eliminating social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, student aid and Planned Parenthood. It also proposes scrapping the National Endowment for the Arts and eventually the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS and National Public Radio.
The plan for FY 2018, which begins October 1, has little chance of passing muster in Congress, which controls the budget. But its aim is to balance the budget in 10 years, relying on 3% growth in the economy over that period; most projections see only around 1.9% growth. The cuts are intended to offset the administration’s plan for a massive tax cut and increased defense spending.
As far back as January, it leaked out that then-President-elect Trump’s transition team had recommended the CPB be privatized, and the NEA and National Endowment for the Humanities eliminated. That news was met by strong backlash in the Hollywood community.
In today’s proposal, the budget would rescind all of FY 2019 funding for the CBP ($445 million) and all but $30.45 million in FY 2018, money that would be designated for shutting down operations. A similar proposal for $29 million would wind down the NEA by next year as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. Yesterday, NEH chairman William D. Adams resigned.
“This is a service that benefits all Americans,” CPB president and CEO Patricia Harrison said today in a statement (read it in full below) — “those living in rural and urban areas who rely on broadcast for programs that are proven to get their children ready to learn, and provide access to life saving emergency alerts, as well as those for whom public media levels the playing field in terms of high-quality educational and informational content, through programs such as NOVA and Nature — all for approximately $1.35 in taxes per person each year.”
Added PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger: “Cutting federal funding for public media would result in a tremendous loss to our country that would be especially devastating for rural and underserved communities. For about $1.35 per citizen, per year, Americans reap significant benefits in terms of school readiness for children, trusted resources for teachers and homeschoolers, civil discourse and critical public safety communications. That’s why in a recent bipartisan survey, large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters from every region said that public television is an excellent value and strongly opposed any reduction in federal funding for public media.”
In down-to-the-wire negotiations over the FY 2017 budget this month, the House Appropriations Committee’s omnibus appropriations bill included increased funding for the CPB, NEA and NEH.
The full CPB statement:
“This is a service that benefits all Americans—those living in rural and urban areas who rely on broadcast for programs that are proven to get their children ready to learn, and provide access to life saving emergency alerts, as well as those for whom public media levels the playing field in terms of high-quality educational and informational content, through programs such as “NOVA” and “Nature” — all for approximately $1.35 in taxes per person each year.
American public media, unlike any public media service in the world, is made possible through a strong public private partnership. Federal funding is the foundation of that partnership recognizing the proven benefits delivered to the American people through public media. The partnership continues with local stations doing their part, working with their communities to complete the funding process.
The elimination of federal funding would take away this vital foundation. Local public media stations, beginning with those serving rural communities and small towns, would cease to exist. Ultimately what would also cease to exist is high-quality commercial free early childhood content focused on educating our youngest citizens, and access to lifelong learning for all.
We will continue to raise awareness in Congress and the Administration about the vital role federal funding plays in supporting local public media stations and the valued content and services they provide.”