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TX House guts the Texas Commission on the Arts

Thanks to a proposal by Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, the Texas state House today voted to remove all remaining state funding to the Texas Commission on the Arts, which has already seen 80% of its revenues disappear in current state budget negotiations. Simpson’s proposal took the remaining $3.5 million in the TCA’s budget to add that amount to community services for people who are elderly and have disabilities. According to a Houston Chronicle blog about today’s vote, Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, who voted for it, asked his colleagues: “Can you imagine … that mail piece that says … ‘He voted against the elderly, but oh, they saved the symphony’.”  Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond countered that the $3.5 million “is a drop in the bucket” given human services funding, and that “What we’re going to do as a consequence of that is destroy an organization that does have value to the state of Texas.” He said it couldn’t be rebuilt in two years if gutted.

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