LETTER: Jindal’s proposed arts funding cuts not in state’s best interest

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

1 to 6.

That is the ratio — the magic number, if you will: for every $1 the state of Louisiana spends on arts funding, $6 end up in the state’s coffers through payroll, sales and other taxes. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Well, our governor and his administration evidently don’t see it that way.

In the executive budget recently announced, funding for the Decentralized Arts Fund — the fund dedicated by parish for arts groups and events — has a proposed cut of 83 percent, from $2.5 million to half a million dollars.

The Statewide Arts Grants has a proposed cut from $2.6 million to three-quarter million dollars.

Now before anyone gets riled up about the discussion of public funding for arts, I will simply say my point is about economics, not ideology. Why would anyone cut what is essentially a money-making venture with a 500 percent profit margin?

To add insult to injury, why would the state of Louisiana cut funding for one of its greatest assets?

We are a state known nationally and internationally for our arts and culture, so again, I ask, why?

I do understand that in these economic times, sacrifices must be made.

Everyone must contribute, and I wholly believe that the arts should not be an exception. But this feels like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

And if someone can explain this logic to me, I’m all ears.

If I’ve not quite made myself clear, then here is another way of looking at it: How would the Governor’s Mansion, the State Capitol or the plethora of other state buildings look if we removed 83 percent of the art from the walls and corridors?

Keith Dixon

Managing Artistic Director

Baton Rouge Little Theater

Baton Rouge