Tuesday, September 09, 2008

how dare you get upset when i take your money away?

so last night's city council meeting was filled to the brims with arts supporters, who were there to protest the mayor's plans to slash arts funding. gary and abdul are both upset at these mean artists for daring to not want their money taken away, and they're singing the same tune. gary says

[T]he City's share of funding for the arts is such a small drop in the bucket for the local arts community that it's hard for its supporters to argue that the elimination or reduction in funding will have an appreciable impact on the arts community.

abdul takes it a step further and lists how much city money is received by various organizations, before concluding:

On average the city funds about 4.6% of the operating budgets of these organizations. If they are going to go out of business over what amounts to basically an average 1.5% budget cut then maybe they should spend a little less time on art and more on math.

is this really the argument republicans want to make here? if so then they haven't properly thought it through. because not only does the argument cut both ways, but it's a stronger argument going the other way!

to wit: the city's entire arts budget is a microscopic $1.5 million. that's out of an annual budget of about $1.1 billion. so the city's arts funding is only 0.136% of the budget—that's fourteen hundredths of a percent! to paraphrase abdul, if the city is going out of business over 0.136% of its budget then the mayor needs to fire his staff and hire someone who's taken an algebra class. surely we don't truly need to cut something that is already such a puny sliver of the budget, right?

moreover, the numbers in abdul's post don't really say what he claims they do. to be sure, the indianapolis museum of art probably wouldn't suffer too much if its 85 grand of city funding were taken away. but encore vocal arts gets 11.34% of its budget from the city. storytelling arts of indiana gets 11.71% of its budget from city funding. primary colours gets 10.50%. interaction theater gets 15.81%. the indianapolis symphonic band gets 19.21%. and freetown village gets a whopping 26.22% of its budget from city funding. i'm sure abdul wouldn't mind if his bosses decided to cut his paycheck by 26.22% (or one third of that—8.74%—a year); it would probably be only a small dent in his martini budget. but for a nonprofit organization, 26% of your budget is a lot of money. that $40,500 means everything to freetown; it means nothing to the city of indianapolis.

1 comment:

Wilson46201 said...

Freetown? Sounds kinda Communistical -- better not give the peasants any ideas!