APTS combats latest bids to defund CPB

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Two of pubcasting’s chief critics on Capitol Hill have revived their bids to end CPB funding. Republican lawmakers Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) and Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) circulated letters last week asking colleagues to help them “permanently defund” CPB. They are targeting the $445 million advance-funded appropriation proposed for CPB in 2015.

CPB’s requested appropriation “represents no reduction from its prior year appropriation level,” the lawmakers wrote. “While so many Americans are making sacrifices around the country to make ends meet, CPB appears unwilling to do the same.” They said the country is more than $15 trillion in debt, and ending support of CPB “should be one of the easier decisions to make.”

The lawmakers point to compensation of two top pubcasting execs to bolster their political case. PBS President Paula Kerger was paid $603,403 in 2010 and former NPR President Vivian Schiller received compensation of $479,011 in 2011. “Certainly, thriving media entities that can afford to pay their executives such generous salaries should not be asking taxpayers to subsidize them,” the lawmakers said.

The Association of Public Television Stations told Senate aides that every CPB dollar generates $6 in non-federal contributions. “This is the largest and most successful public-private partnership in the United States,” supporting educational efforts, public safety initiatives and community partnerships addressing society’s problems, wrote APTS President Patrick Butler in a letter to top Senate staffers.

Butler wrote that eliminating all federal funding for pubcasting would reduce the federal budget by only one-hundredth of one percent.

Congress is currently debating President Obama’s 2013 budget, which contains CPB’s 2015 appropriation.