Arts funding shouldn’t be first to goPublished 12:04am Thursday, July 5, 2012
Nearly four years after the Great Recession began and worries over our country’s banking system nearly sent the economy over a cliff, the damage is still being felt across the Miss-Lou.
The most recent blow came in the form of a $12,000 cut in state funding to the Concordia Parish Library. The library operates branches in Clayton, Ferriday and Vidalia, as well as operating a bookmobile.
The funding paid for technological resources, including computers with Internet access for public use.
Perhaps lawmakers think such things are so commonplace that “everyone” already has such access. The truth is many of our area’s residents still lack Internet access, and thus the library is their only avenue to help their children do school research or otherwise better their education.
Such state funding is important to the library, but parish residents are fortunate that most of the library’s funding comes in the form of a local tax in effect until 2018.
Louisiana’s recent budget cuts included doing away with nearly $1 million in funding to state libraries.
Similar budget cuts crippled many state museums including Ferriday’s Delta Music Museum.
Politicians wring their hands about such issues and suggest that they support educational efforts and cultural improvements for the state at the same time they’re cutting funding for the very same groups.
Unfortunately libraries and museums aren’t typically big players in political circles. They don’t make large donations to politicians, and they wield very little political power.
So they’re among the first to be cut. The public should demand that such cuts be restored quickly. Failing to invest in libraries and museums is likely to bite the state squarely on the rump in the long run.