A House budget committee has reinstated into the draft budget more than $250,000 Gov. Fletcher had proposed to be cut. The House’s draft, however, still must match the Senate’s version before it can be finalized — something which has proven more than troublesome in the past.
“It is good news, but we still have more to fight for,” said Trish Salerno, Director of Arts Kentucky, a non-profit membership group that advocates for the Kentucky Arts Council and helps communities improve themselves with the arts.
Though the House did ignore Gov. Fletcher’s proposed cuts for the Arts Council, it has so far not reinstated more than $400,000 worth of mid-year cuts.
Paul Fourshee, a member of the JMAM board of directors and also a board member of the Kentucky Arts Council, said if Kentucky considers art important enough to test students on it, the state “ought to think it is important enough to fund them.”
As a member of the Arts Council, Fourshee is prohibited from directly lobbying legislators for the group’s funding. He can, however, drum up support within the community, which he did by pointing those who’d expressed interest in the Seussical the Musical production to an e-mail campaign being organized by Arts Kentucky, meant to draw legislator’s attention to the Council’s budget.
“The legislator never looks that far down” in a budget, Fourshee said. The Kentucky Arts Council’s $4 million dollar budget is grouped as part of the Commerce Cabinet, he said.
“We have to lobby to try to get this,” he said.
Before learning that the House had reduced some of the proposed cuts to the Arts Council budget, Fourshee said the JMAM, which operates on about a $40,000 annual budget, would survive any such cuts.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.