Maryland bill would make up any cuts to state TV network’s federal funding

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The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation Monday that sets an annual minimum state appropriation for the Maryland Public Broadcasting Commission and calls for the state to make up any future cuts in federal funding to stations.

The bill would increase the annual appropriation for MPBC, licensee for Maryland Public Television, in proportion to growth of the state’s general fund revenues. It passed unanimously in the 47-member Senate and 94-47 in the House.

Under the legislation, MPT’s appropriation would not drop if state revenues fell, according to a station spokesperson.

In fiscal year 2017, the state provided $8.2 million of MPT’s $31.5 million budget.

Gov. Larry Hogan can sign the bill, veto it or take no action. If he does nothing, the bill would become law June 1.​

Democratic State Sen. Nancy King, chair of the senate subcommittee that oversees MPBC’s appropriation, informed Maryland Public Television in February that she would introduce the bill. “​We are grateful to Sen. King for introducing this wonderfully supportive bill, and we’re eagerly awaiting news of the governor’s action,” MPT President Larry Unger told Current.

In an email to station colleagues Monday, Unger said that “it was heartening to see that so many state senators and delegates of both political parties are indeed friends of MPT, recognizing our value to Maryland’s citizens.”

According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland Public Television would lose about 9 percent of its annual budget if Congress adopted President Trump’s proposed spending cuts.

  • We need MPT more than ever!!!

  • koskatta

    What about Maryland’s public radio stations? They are in as much need for continued federal support as MPT, if not more so — particularly on the Eastern Shore.

    • MPT is the only recipient of direct state funding in Maryland, though some public radio stations licensed to state universities could be seen as getting indirect funding.