Good-Bye Georgia Council For the Arts?

From the Georgia Council for the Arts via ArtsCriticATL.com

“We have no documentation yet, but were told that the House Appropriations Committee voted yesterday to cut our budget for FY 2011 to less than $250,000. Most importantly, these funds are to be transferred to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). We don’t know if this means that Georgia Council for the Arts 1) will no longer exist, 2) we will become part of DCA, or 3) the funds will be used to close out the FY 2010 Final Reports and end GCA. Whichever, Georgia will be the only state and territory in the nation that will have no state arts agency.

It is urgent that GCA hear from you today, no later than 5 PM. There are only six days remaining in this legislative session.

By return email to me, please relate briefly how the loss of GCA grant funding (using this year’s award amount) will impact your Programs, Staff, and Audience? Will one or more of your programs have to be cut? Will staff have to be let go or furloughed? How will your audience (and the Legislator’s constituents) decline? Please give your best guess to answer these questions: numbers and brief explanations will be helpful.

GCA will collate this information tonight. We will send you an email tomorrow (and everyday until this legislative session is closed) asking you, your staff, your board members, and patrons to take a specific action based on the collation of this data and on other information.”

41 thoughts on “Good-Bye Georgia Council For the Arts?”


  1. If it goes to the DCA you can kiss it goodbye. There is 14 million statewide over the last 2 years that has come from pre-paid wireless phones, and instead of going to DCA for distribution to the 911 centers statewide, it’s being appropriated to the General Fund. It’s like a kiss of death……

  2. The good news is you won’t need MARTA anymore because there won’t be anything to go and see. SYNERGY!

  3. Here’s a link to a prepackaged “this is a really stupid idea” message: http://bit.ly/agTaZh

    Just enter your name and contact information, and it’ll automatically send to your legislatures. It takes 30 seconds, assuming you know how to type.

  4. This news combined with the news that Governor Purdue has engaged the services of an outside counsel to sue the Federal government over the health care bill … is, geez, takes a minute to settle the ire. We ‘re in the middle of a very serious budget crisis, little or no funding available for public defenders, peachcare, GCA … state employees are being furloughed, schools are being closed … it makes no sense. The arts are generative, what we invest there, everyone benefits from. A lawsuit deemed to have no merit by the state’s own Atty General pursued anyway, and by hiring outside attorneys. show me the money Sonny. I realize these are two different things … but juxtaposed together makes me want to GRRRROWL. This is a sad state of affairs.

    1. I could live without us spending state money on joining the healthcare lawsuit, since so many other states are already suing. But the suits are not a waste of time by any means. They raise very important constitutional questions. For Baker to say the suits have absolutely no merit whatsoever is preposterous and nakedly political. It is not an independent and honest legal assesment.

      1. Are you serious? I think the lawsuits are nothing but political posturing. What are the constitutional questions? How is this different from the Medicaid/Medicare mandates?

        This suits are wasted money and putting money into that while cutting arts funding is beyond pathetic.

        1. Yes, of course I am serious. The questions include does the Commerce Clause permit Congress to affirmatively require that US citizens purchase a service on the private market– namely, health insurance. Legal experts are on both sides of that issue, which has never really come up before the courts, because this mandate is unprecedented.

          1. Uhhh…no. That’s like saying there are Canadians on both sides of the border. Yeah, some Canadians live in the ‘States, but you’ll find a whole lot more of them up north.

            The vast majority of constitutional scholars and legal experts have come down on the side of the healthcare reforms being perfectly legal and well within the established powers of the federal government, which unarguably holds sway over the states. To characterize this legal snipe hunt as anything other than political posturing is futile.

            1. Yes, the feds hold sway over the states. That’s not the only issue, or even the main one. So I think you are missing the point. Or perhaps you can point me to the SCOTUS decision that firmly establishes that a decision not to buy a private service or product is “interstate commerce.” Good luck with that one.

              1. DEM, tell me where you’re getting most of your information on the validity of this lawsuit?
                Because this sentence– “SCOTUS decision that firmly establishes that a decision not to buy a private service or product is “interstate commerce.”–sounds like it’s straight from the anti-Obama playbook.

                There IS not public service or product for sale, because, well the Republicans didn’t want the government-funded healthcare.

                And my government makes me buy car insurance.

              2. Your STATE government makes you buy car insurance. The state legislature’s powers are not limited by the commerce clause in the federal constitution.

                Also,

                “There IS not public service or product for sale, because, well the Republicans didn’t want the government-funded healthcare.”

                This doesn’t factor into the constitutional analysis of the bill they actually passed. Every piece of federal legislation has to fall within an enumerated power of the federal government. The argument is simply whether the health care bill does that — specifically, whether the commerce clause extends so far as to require citizens to affirmatively purchase insurance. The Obama bill requires you to do that, or pay a penalty of up to 2% of income. The commerce power has been expensively interpreted, generally, but whether it means the government can force you to engage in a transaction is an open question. Not saying the administration is sure to lose, just that it is an important issue of feeral power that needs to be vetted through the courts.

              3. DEM – you’re absolutely right , of course. Using the cover of “interstate commerce” to claim that “failing to buy a given service affects the supply/demand curve across state borders” is a heinous, and frankly extremely dangerous, misrepresentation of the Commerce Clause. It’s so clear, you’d think even democrats would be afraid future conservative congress could mandate something equally unpalatable, like mandatory home firearms, or terror attack insurance.

                But you’re wrong to think that the “frequent contributors” are willing to consider any opinion (never mind fact) that doesn’t fit with their worldview.

                Good luck, though. You’ve got a lot of rational, like-minded supporters watching on the sidelines.

              4. I’m not a lawyer, like many of you, but I’m pretty sure that the Fed has been applying the interstate commerce clause to dang near everything since the late 18th century. It goes through the court system and gets sorted out.

                If it IS “heinous” and “dangerous”, it’s been that way a long time.

              5. DM, you don’t have to be a lawyer to see that this proposed lawsuit is based upon meritless objections to the use of the CC; you especially don’t have to be a lawyer to realize that when you scratch under the surface of these “protests against our freedoms being impinged upon”, you find nothing but seething anger over the fact that this world & this country are changing, and some people absolutely cannot bear it. It’s clear that this applies to all but a miniscule portion of the “Tea Party” sympathizers, since the same folk who’re so outraged now were content to let their conservative brethren run roughshod over the Constitution, demonize anyone as “unpatriotic” who dared protest, and allow Wall Street to bend us over and give it to us roughly for nearly a decade.

              6. This is an unprecedented expansion of the commerce clause in scale and in kind. Yes DM, there has been creeping expansion of this for some time. But the difference is akin to scary prowlers slowly scouting your house, at first staying on the sidewalk, then skirting the corners of your yard, then finally breaking in.

                Do you object when someone cuts through your yard, even though it’s technically trespassing? Probably not. Do you object loudly when someone finally breaks in? Absolutely!

              7. Unprecedented how?

                How is it more “heinous” than using the Commerce Clause to justify the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which the Court struck down in Lopez?

                Or more heinous than Gonzales v. Raich, which ruled that the Fed could regulate marijuana grown and consumed in the same state?

              8. DM- I’d say it’s rather obvious!

                The courts have occasionally stretched this clause to decide on what citizens may *not* do. The courts have never used (as far as I can tell) the commerce clause to force private individuals to take action in a private marketplace! The rational being that NOT doing something affects interstate commerce(!!!).

                There is no constitutional basis for this. The may not be able to overturn it. But it’s outrageous! What’s next?

              9. This actually sounds like a good argument for the public option. The robust public option.

  5. The (current) Georgia Legislature’s mentality on the GCFA & AG Baker:

    “Lookit, thur ain’t no need fer us ta spend good money on some artsy-fartsy, homasexshul- lovin’, immorality-promotin’, sacreligious-encouragin’ buncha heathens who wanna sling paint all over the place while they dance around in a loincloth & bang on a drum. Who on Earth goes to see any uh that crap anyways? Bunch artsy-fartsy, homasexshul-lovin’, immorality- promotin’, sacreligious-encouragin’ buncha heathens! We need to give ‘at money to th’ BINESSMEN! Binesses is what’s hurtin’, and who else is gonna send them lobbyists over with all kinda goodies if all the binesses is gone? All them folk wantin’ arts & whatnot kin just stay home & watch “Hee-Haw” reruns– best thang on TV, an’ it’s FREE! Plus, we gotta save our pennies tuh git another lawyur, on account uh that uppity Thurlburt Baker not doin’ as he’s told– I mean, kin you buhLEEVE that? Here the Gub’ner’s tryna git Georgia outta Obammycare, and along comes Thurlburt tellin’ ‘im he ain’t got no legal grounds! Why, when’s that ever stopped inny of us from pushin’ somethin’ through??? Hmmph. The good citizuns o’ Georgia are just plain lucky they got us lookin’ out fer ’em!”

    1. If I could stop guffawing I would take exception to such blatant stereotyping of Suthun pallticks.

    2. I like the Obammy care part. Great play on mammy stereotypes 🙂

      And I am as Southern as you can get.

    1. I suggest a different approach–across departments, cutting staff or programs that are not mission-critical, prohibiting frequent window dressing reorgs and superficial initiatives that paralyze agencies and cripple efficient employees, and allowing programs to spend federal funding rather than wasting or returning it because it’s impossible to hire, purchase, or contract.

    2. At this point, I’d rather cut the state legislative budget. Have our elected state reps be volunteer-based. And keep the legislative session tight and limited to a month or so – they might get more done. Treat it like jury duty – you get paid per day of service and your employer cannot fire you by law.

      Not saying that all elected reps aren’t worthy folks, but what exactly are their salaries? And how many “behind-closed-doors deals” do they need to supplement their incomes? We need to something about the political and power trends. Take away their income and the chance to be re-elected and see what their motivations become…

      I’m sure none of that makes sense (and may even fly in the face of democracy?), but cutting arts & education funding is so counter-intuitive to me when we’re talking about the good of the society.

  6. Why do we have a state arts agency to being with? Funding the arts is not a legitimate function of government nor is it an appropriate use of public tax money. If this council loses its state funding, Georgia will move to the head of the pack when it comes to reducing waste in state government spending.

    Dekalb County is cutting schools and is low on adequate law enforcement. Also, the state is low on money for maintaining and building roads. These are crises in areas that represent legitimate governmental responsibilities. Government spending involving arts needs to be eliminated. And while you’re at it, stop funding public broadcasting with my tax money. More waste.

    1. Brother, cold, hard facts. Wait until they open our Apr 15th correspondence; they may not have enough to hire the trash collector next year. With household budgets strained, let those who depend upon us adjust their ambitions to our realities.

    2. If we lose state funding, we’ll be ineligible for federal funding. And, we’ll be the ONLY state to not have state funding.

      The Arts brings in more revenue than the $2 million budget or so that they’re cutting. So we risk losing much revenue.

      1. Clairemont –

        If we accept your premise that “the Arts” brings in more revenue than it costs to support, then we don’t need government to support it, do we?

        If there is a demand for “the Arts” and a reasonable rate of return, then it should rightfully belong to the private sector, not public.

        1. George –

          Should Clairemont consider your question about “the Arts” within the context of “reality” or “your free market fantasy”? Because I think her answers would be different.

          1. Lain –
            Provocation, but no real debate?

            Regardless, I regret and retract my comment.

            I understand arts funding a strangely emotional issue for some people. I did not intend to contest your version of reality.

            1. An appeal to emotion will help no one–Clairemont, I think, was referring to the educational qualities of “the Arts”. What kind of art do you like, George? Does it come down to taste?

              Since the Enlightenment–the arts have helped educate people. Is it waste?

              1. I hate to disagree with you Gibbsy, but I think art has been defining culture and educating people since, well, the first people. From tribal storytellers to cave drawings to Michaelangelo to Shakespeare to Sarah Bernhardt and onward and backwards, the need for the arts and creative expression have defined humanity in the way nothing else but our need for religion has defined us. The free market is a relatively new concept and I have a very funny feeling the arts will outlast the market.

    3. How can you talk about needing to improve education in the same breath as saying arts funding should not get government funding? Wow. I don’t think people who want some sort of undefined “limited government” actually really understand what they are asking for.

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