Liberals were probably hoping President Trump had forgotten about his intention last year to cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Trump’s newly proposed budget released Monday, which increased federal expenditures by $300 billion, called for the end of funding for CPB which, in turn, funds PBS and National Public Radio stations, The Hill reported.
“The Budget proposes to eliminate Federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) over a two year period,” the proposed plan read. “CPB grants represent a small share of the total funding for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR), which primarily rely on private donations to fund their operations.”
The plan also calls for an “orderly transition away” from taxpayer-funding.
“To conduct an orderly transition away from Federal funding, the Budget requests $15.5 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020, which would include funding for personnel costs of $16.2 million, rental costs of $8.9 million; and other costs totaling $5.4 million,” according to the proposal.
The administration’s first budget proposal nearly a year ago sent liberals into a meltdown as Trump announced plans to drastically cut the budget, directly affecting funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Hollywood decried the proposal and a video parody featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo getting laid off went viral.
CPB President Patricia Harrison warned Monday that the move would “at first devastate, and then ultimately destroy public media’s ability to provide early childhood content, life-saving emergency alerts, and public affairs programs,” according to The Hill.
“We will continue to raise awareness in Congress and the Administration about the valued content and services local public television and radio stations provide to their communities and the vital role federal funding plays in supporting them,” she said in the statement.
The budget needs congressional approval before any of its plans can be implemented. That gives critics time to launch their counter-attacks, as Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, just did.
“PBS, our 350 member stations and our legions of local supporters will continue to remind leaders in Washington of the significant benefits the public receives in return for federal funding,” Kerger said in a statement Monday. She also cited a survey that “revealed that Americans rank PBS and member stations second only to the country’s military defense in terms of value for taxpayer dollars.”
Grants from the CPB are only a small part of total funding, the White House maintains, noting that they also receive private donations to fund airtime.
“CPB funding comprises about 15% of the total amount spent on public broadcasting, with the remainder coming from non-federal sources, with many large stations raising an even greater share,” the budget stated, according to Variety. “This private fundraising has proven durable, negating the need for continued federal subsidies.
“Services such as PBS and NPR, which receive funding from CPB, could make up the shortfall by increasing revenues from corporate sponsors, foundations, and members. In addition, alternatives to PBS and NPR programming have grown substantially since CPB was first established in 1967, greatly reducing the need for publicly-funded programming options,” the budget read.