Funding the Arts Commission

As recently reported by The Nerve, a bill that establishes a steady source of funding for the Arts Commission,  S. 1210, has passed through the Senate Education K-12 Subcommittee. The bill is scheduled to be considered by the full Education Committee tomorrow.

“The bill would provide an annual transfer to the Arts Commission of an amount equal to 15 percent of the General Fund portion of state admission tax revenues and require the agency to expend at least 70 percent of funds generated from the admission tax on grants for children’s and community programs.”

While all funding was cut from the agency in the Governor’s Budget, the Arts Commission requested a $3.54 million budget for the year of 2011-2012.

“We need to find a stable way to fund the arts in South Carolina,” Ken May, executive director of the Arts Commission, told the Senate subcommittee.”

Very few agencies have their annual budget written into law in this way; far more essential agencies than the Arts Commission must make a yearly request. Shouldn’t state lawmakers be empowered to deny funding to an agency that they don’t consider a priority?

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