A proposal by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to phase out state funding for public broadcasting ran into opposition in the state House of Delegates on Wednesday (April 21), as many legislators called public programming an important educational tool and sought to avoid deep cuts like those already seen in Florida, Louisiana, New York and other states.
The Republican-led House of Delegates voted 52-to43 to keep $1.6 million in state funding over the next two years. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the result ran against the wishes of McDonnell, who is also a Republican. Advocates for public television, which produces shows such as "Sesame Street" and, in many states, news programs about state government, said it was important for the state to provide funding because commercial broadcasters are cutting back their services amid the recession. Opponents said the state has higher priorities.
As Stateline reported last month, public broadcasting has been a little-noticed victim of state budget cuts around the nation, with sharp cutbacks in Florida, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah. But state funding for public broadcasters varies greatly, with 10 states — including California — providing no funding at all, and others ranging from $2 million to $20 million annually.