GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has come out against government-sponsored arts and cultural programs. In an op-ed piece that appeared in USA Today, Romney stated that he would "enact deep reductions" in cultural and art grantmaking agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Romney offered up his budget suggestions despite the fact that the NEA and NEH receive about $155 million annually, among smallest agency appropriations in the federal budget. "Deep reductions" may sound a bit vague, so the LA Times contacted Romney's campaign to clarify what that would mean exactly. The Romney camp's response? Romney wouldn't cut the four agencies mentioned altogether, but would reduce their funding by half.
Romney's track record reveals many attempts to reduce cultural agency funding while governor of Massachusetts. In 2006, Romney tried to veto the creation of a Cultural Facilities Fund, which aids nonprofit arts, scientific and historical organization in construction costs. Legislature overrode the veto and $37 million has been granted by the state under the program. Although, Romney's view remains in contrast with many of his GOP cohorts that would rather see the programs cut, but it still represents a step to the right for a man who was once known as a relatively moderate conservative.