Appropriations by Congress to CPB / Curve, 1969-2001

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Opponents of aid to public broadcasting created plateaus in CPB spending in early 1980s and again in 1990s. But the general upward swing of this chart doesn’t mean more spending power. After adjusting for inflation, FY2000’s $300 million is worth 5 percent less than the FY90 figure of $229.4 million.

Figures are rising again since failure of the zero-it-out movement: $300M for FY2000 and $340M for FY2001.

CPB’s first appropriation in FY68 was just $5M, but from there the sum often rose by $10M or $20M a year. Reagan-era cutbacks halted CPB’s rise for years, starting with $35M cut in in FY 83 (to $137M).

Extra appropriations in FY91-93 on top of these sums add up to almost $200M for replacement of public TV’s and public radio’s original satellite systems.

Congress usually votes on CPB aid two years in advance as “insulation” for pubcasting. But lateness of 1995 decision on FY96 amount, just five months before fiscal year began, undercut the principle. Congress rescinded $7M for FY95, $37M for FY96 and $55M for FY97 (to $260M).

Appropriations for five years, FY 1997-2001, were enacted without the usual prerequisite-an authorization bill.

Source: CPB figures compiled by Current for A History of Public Broadcasting, 2000

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