Save the NEA

Continuing its jihad against the National Endowment for the Arts, The House Appropriations subcommittee has presented a bill that would give the NEA just enough money to finance its own death. The $10 million dollars the subcommittee has appropriated-- a 90 percent cut from last year-- is meant to cover administrative costs for an "orderly termination" of the agency, according to the bill.The National Campaign for Freedom of Expression is asking everyone to call, fax or e-mail State Representatives before July 7, when the full house takes up the bill, and demand that the NEA is spared the funding ax. NEA supporters are rallying Congress to agree to the administration's budget instead; President Clinton has requested $136 million for the NEA, a 37 percent increase over last years $99.5 million. Eliminating the endowment would cut off access to the arts for thousands of people nationwide, especially in rural areas, the Freedom of Expression group charges. NEA funding supports lower ticket prices and free performances at arts organizations nationwide, giving poor and middle-class people access to the arts. Without this funding, the arts would be more strictly the domain of the rich than ever before. In contrast to other Western Countries, even President Clinton's $136 million budget is a pittance. In Germany, Berlin alone provides $130 million for its two major opera companies. Funding for the NEA represents just 0.01% of the federal budget and costs each taxpayer about 38 cents a year. To reach your Representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative's office. The National Campaign for the Freedom of Expression has a sample letter available for fax or email by calling (202) 393-2787, but they urge you to personalize your letter, letting your Representative know how the NEA's elimination would affect you and your community.

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