Wyoming Arts Council

S.D. Gov’s budget eliminates state arts agency

One of our neighboring states is experiencing an arts funding crisis. Peter Harriman at the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader reports this sobering news:

Gov. Mike Rounds on Thursday outlined $46.2 million in proposed budget cuts in the next two years that would span almost 40 programs and cut 76 full-time jobs within the state. The cuts are necessary to help cover projected shortfalls of $58.7 million in fiscal 2009 and $83.8 million the following year. The deficits come in the middle of a national recession. Rounds said economists predict will be both deep and long. But Rounds also said the state, which has had a structural deficit five out of the past six years since 2003, must stop spending more than it makes.

Arts and educational programs are being hit hard.

Public higher education institutions also would have to pass out $500,000 in program cuts to the six campuses. Cooperative Extension, headquartered at South Dakota State University, would see a $1 million cut. Perry worries such cuts will force South Dakota to lose ground against regional peers. North Dakota and Wyoming have surplus budgets, and we know they are investing in higher education. … I’ve got a lot of concern about that,” he said.

Rounds also suggested cutting money to the South Dakota Arts Council by $668,000, which also means the loss of National Endowment for the Arts money. The cuts would affect a variety of programs in Sioux Falls, including the Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Society, Washington Pavilion of Art and Science, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Sioux Empire Community Theatre.

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