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Arts are not economic drain

May 31, 2017
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

Rep. Francis Rooney claims he wants funding cut for the NEA due to the budget deficit. This is a $147M line item, which amounts to 21/5,000th, or .0042 percent of the federal budget (2016). This is a relatively miniscule amount, yet when we met with him, he stated that although he does not fully support the idea of the border wall, he would vote for a budget which included funding for it. Obviously, cutting costs is not actually a driving force for Rooney.

Based on a study released in 2012, (current data will come out June 2017), in Lee County, $9.4M in tax revenue was collected by local and state governments from cultural and art organizations. And that does not account for any other county around the state or country. Additionally, 2038 full-time Lee County jobs, ($48M in income), were supported and $48M in event spending, (not including admissions), was pumped into the local economy. To suggest arts are an economic drain is patently false.

Cutting NEA funding for economic reasons is absurd. It's not a dent in the budget and arts are an obvious boost to the economy. It is time that Rooney starts being held accountable for his baseless rhetoric.

SWFL Indivisible is a grass-roots organization that values a representative and transparent democratic process. We work together to ensure elected officials are accountable to the entirety of their constituency by fostering effective communications with legislators and supporting lawmakers who hear and consider the concerns of their district's people.

Allison Lund

Fort Myers



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