Swept Away! ... ?

This afternoon, I received an e-mail message from my representative in the State Senate, Diane Rosenbaum, responding to my letter regarding the proposal to sweep Cultural Trust funds into the dustbin of Oregon's General Fund. Here it is:

Thank you for taking the time to write in support of the Oregon Cultural Trust, and for sharing your concerns about preserving funding for the arts in
this extremely difficult economy.

Like you, my family has contributed regularly to this program,and value the ability to augment contributions to Oregon's arts and cultural organizations through the matching tax credit and license plate programs.

Unfortunately, the legislature faces the horrendous task of finding resources for a huge and growing shortfall in the State's budget for education, human services and other vital public services. The need to balance the current budget with no additional revenue necessitated very difficult choices. I want to assure you that I am working hard to find new sources of revenue as we move forward to avert any further negative impacts on funding for the arts.

Again thank you for your thoughtful comments and passionate support for the Oregon Cultural Trust. Please feel free to contact me with any future concerns.


Senator Diane Rosenbaum

Note that Senator Rosenbaum doesn't say what actually happened to the bill (SB 151), nor does she describe what she did about any of it. I'm keying in on the use of the past tense in the phrase "necessitated very difficult choices," and in the phrase "to avert any further negative impacts on funding for the arts." I appreciate her assurances, but am not reassured.

Perhaps her staffer wrote the response inartfully and the proposal is still kicking around the back rooms of the Capitol Building. I sure couldn't find any information by searching the net--not even on the websites for the Oregon Cultural Trust or for the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, the latter being the organization calling us all to action last week. If any of our readers have new information, please comment and fill the rest of us in.

Amendment: Because this is just batshit crazy.


culturejock said...

Yes, I too received a letter with lots of words in the past tense, suggesting this is all a done deal.

It says, blah blah blah, blah blah, "...Please know that
the use of the Trust's funds in this manner is not something the
legislature has done lightly - it was, in fact, a decision taken only
after the legislature had reached the point where the only additional
cuts that could be made would either cripple state services vitally needed in the recession or have a further negative impact on our K-12 schools."

Blah blah blah about how supportive this legislator is about the arts, and ..."I'm sure this is small consolation to you, but the legislators were also forced to sweep funds from agriculture, fish and wildlife, and judicial programs funded by direct payments by stakeholders in those fields."


And now I'm wondering, why aren't the OAC, the CAC, and the Trust keeping us apprised of what's going on? Is it not completely strange that there is no mention of any of this on any of their websites?

Is anybody home???

culturejock said...

This was posted about two hours ago at Oregonlive:


Mead said...

Yeah, I've now gotten three letters, each with different content yet each intimating (without actually stating it) that the whole matter is fait accompli.

Translation in all three cases: "needed it so took it, sorry, hope you understand, know you do, luv ya!"