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In the Belly of the (Congressional Budgeting) Beast

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Earlier this week, a House of Representatives' Appropriations subcommittee passed a spending package for the upcoming fiscal year. Here at The Creative Coalition, we focus on the arts, and the bill is devastating for America's non-profit arts sector, slashing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by 49%. Community theaters, local art centers and arts education programs in small towns and cities across the country will be in danger of being forced to shut down.

But, it's not just the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities budgets (also cut 49%), that were slashed. The House bill would devastate the Environmental Protection Agency, hacking its budget by more than a third, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service being cut by 27%. American treasures like the Smithsonian and our national parks also are teed up to get slashed. And the bill even decimates federal programs to ensure that our drinking water is safe. After all, who needs safe drinking water?

We're told that there just is no other choice. Our debt is too high, so the arts -- and safe drinking water -- just have to go.

This hacksaw approach to budgeting sounds like bad public policy. Over the short term, leading economists agree that we shouldn't be slashing public investment while our economy is still shaky. And, over the longer term, it makes even less sense. Every economic analysis of our investment in the arts clearly shows these programs boost our economy, improve educational outcomes for our kids, and exponentially supports community development.

For decades, some politicians have been open about their intention to "starve the beast." Well, this week in Washington, we've seen the clearest indication yet of this "starve the beast" approach in action. It turns out, though, that the "beast" we're starving is our own children and our investments in their future.

Please click on www.usa.gov and let your elected officials know that our children's future matters. The Arts matter.