Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arts Groups See Mayor’s Budget Plan and Shudder

The NY Times reported that It has become a New York version of Washington’s cherry blossoms: the springtime tussle over the city’s culture budget. The mayor puts forward his plan for the coming fiscal year, as he did on May 6; arts institutions insist they will be ruined by the cuts to their allocations; and the City Council puts in additional funds — sometimes more than the mayor has taken out — to ease the pain.

This year, however, the doomsayers may have legitimate reason to fear the worst. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s $63 billion budget for fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1, calls for a 31 percent reduction in financing for arts groups and a 25 percent cut for libraries — steeper than any such measures he has proposed at this stage of the budget cycle in the last eight years. And the City Council will most likely have to draw from a smaller pool of funds to help make up the difference than it has in the past.

“I don’t think I can remember a more difficult time for cultural institutions in New York City,” said Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History, which she said would see its city financing decline under the mayor’s proposal to about $6 million from about $12 million in fiscal year 2008, when the appropriation to the Department of Cultural Affairs was at its highest point in the last decade. “Many are experiencing record attendance at the same time that funding from the city has been drastically reduced.”

The budget will not become final until its details are hashed out between the mayor and the council between now and the end of June. But institutions are already steeling themselves to make do with much less. The New York Public Library says that if the mayor’s proposed cut of $37 million — the harshest in the library’s history — goes through, it will have to close 10 branches, cut service across the system to four days from six, reduce staff by 36 percent and offer 25,300 fewer programs and classes for children and adults. Read more here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it..................................................