Last week the North Carolina General Assembly received Governor Perdue’s proposed 2011-13 budget, which included a 10% cut in grants funding to the North Carolina Arts Council. The leadership of both the state House and Senate have said they don’t feel the governor’s budget cuts deeply enough, across the state government, and they may well propose an even more drastic reduction in the state’s support of the arts.
The North Carolina Writers’ Network receives roughly 15% of its budget from an annual grant by the North Carolina Arts Council, part of the state Department of Cultural Resources (for perspective, that 15% of our budget is equal to about .0008% of the projected budget shortfall). Our annual NCAC grant is our third-largest source of revenue, following member dues and conference registrations. This grant helps the Network pay workshop instructors and conference speakers, which in turn has helped us keep registration fees and member dues at the same level for the past several years, and even reduce some fees.
As North Carolinians and as writers, we owe it to our community to be citizens, as well. We owe it to our elected officials to let them know what in and about our state we hold most dear. We owe it to ourselves to speak up for what is important.
Please make sure you are registered to vote. Please make sure you know who represents you in the General Assembly. Then, please make sure they know how their constituents feel about the arts. By snail mail, e-mail, phone, or fax, make sure your representatives know that their constituents want this state to continue to support its arts and artists, including its literary artists – including you. Make sure they hear our message:
Support for the arts in North Carolina not only improves our quality of life, it helps drive our economy: creative production accounts for more than $41.4 billion statewide each year. The arts are essential, and cost-effective; a small investment from the state produces big results. If arts funding is to be cut, we ask that the cuts be fair, that the arts community is not made to bear a disproportionate share of our common burden.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336.293.8844 if you have any questions or comments about the state budget or the Network’s portion of it. Thank you for being a part of the Network, and thank you for doing your part to support the Network.
North Carolina Writers’ Network