I have not had a chance to work through the proposed budget yet – that is saved for this weekend, so as to prepare in advance of some meetings next week- but it is worth a quick comment on the proposed cuts to arts funding.
Now, city funding might be needed for such organisations to look for funding from other levels of government, and some organisations (I’m looking at you, Bluesfest), are probably large enough to survive without direct subsidy, even if it means reducing the profile of some of the acts. If it goes, I will miss Centretown movies, but admittedly have seen exactly one show in the last 3 years (Khaaaan!).
But, as it is with most of the proposed cuts, it is worth figuring out what the actual per-household costs of such programs actually is. In 2006, there were 350,917 households in the city. So, with $4.1 million in proposed cuts, that works out to a per-household cost of $11.68.
Let’s say that again, but this time in bold: $11.68.
Obviously, that’s assuming each home pays the same, the vagaries of property taxes would mean that something different. But I think that the question should be whether an extra 12 bucks a year per household (or a little more than $4/person) is worth having the sorts of arts programs we are about to cut. I also think that is a fair question as we look towards other cuts and, more importantly, as we look towards other spending. The game shouldn’t be getting the budget to a magic number, it should be about making sure that we are getting value for our money.
With these arts programs, I’m comfortable with the cost.