By Howard Pousner
The $17.8 billion budget passed by the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday night calls for the elimination of the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA). Georgia would become the only state in the U.S. without an arts agency if that plan holds as the budget works its way through full House and Senate before going to Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The GCA, which awards highly competitive programming grants that touch all corners of state, was slated for a 79 percent funding cut in the governor’s proposed budget. It recommended $890,735 for the state arts agency, down from $2.32 million this year and $4.18 million as recently as fiscal 2008. Even before the latest cut, Georgia ranked 44th among states in per capita arts appropriations in fiscal 2009, according to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
All that would remain now is $250,000 in granting funds that would be transferred to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to administer.