Mrs. Corbett joins Senate Dems protesting arts cuts

The First Lady of Pennsylvania is not taking proposed cuts to the arts sitting down.

Susan Corbett joined Senate Democrats, yes Democrats, on Tuesday to protest House Republican proposal to slash $6 million in arts grant funding next year.

Corbett, who chairs the state Council on the Arts (she was named to the post by her husband), told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg she was sticking up for the arts community.

“The arts budget is so small in comparison with the rest of the budget, but it has a huge impact on the quality of life,"" Corbett told the newspaper. "It’s a good investment, and I was disappointed to see House Republicans slash it by 70 percent. I’m hoping things are still moving around, and that they will restore some of that funding.”

Her agency would see a reduction equal to 70 percent.

Under the House budget plan - now sitting in the Senate - grant funding for arts groups would drop from $8.6 million to $2.5 million. Under Gov. Corbett's proposal funding would have increased to $9 million.

Sen. Larry Farnese (D., Phila.) said the arts are an important economic engine in Pennsylvania providing 62,000 jobs and generating $300 million in tax revenue.

“Now is not the time to walk away from our commitments to arts and culture,” said Farnese. “We were successful two years ago, and I am committed to doing all we can to make sure that the fragile finances of our cultural sector are preserved.”

The First Lady's visibility stands in stark contrast to Gov. Rendell's wife Midge, who by virtue of her position as a  judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia - rarely appeared at Harrisburg events.




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