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Senate budget restores funds for arts council

POSTED: April 21, 2010 1:34 p.m.
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Sen. Jack Hill

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ATLANTA — Georgia’s arts council was granted a reprieve on Tuesday from the state Senate.
The state House had targeted the arts panel for elimination, a move which arts advocates said would imperil hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants.
On Tuesday, Senate budget writers restored $890,000 in state money to keep the Georgia Council for the Arts afloat for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The money was included in the $17.8 billion budget proposal that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The council is still taking a hit. Gone are about $1.7 million in state grants to local arts and cultural organizations. Georgia would have been the only state in the nation without a federally recognized arts council if the panel had been eliminated, making the state ineligible for more than $800,000 in federal National Endowment for the Arts grants.
Artists rallied at the state Capitol on Monday urging legislators to restore arts money.
State Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Hill said legislators heard an earful on the arts issue.
“I think it made the difference,” the Republican from Reidsville said.
The full state Senate is expected to take up the budget today. They must then reconcile their spending blueprint with the one that cleared the House.
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