Monday, October 19, 2009
While many reacted to last week’s signed budget with relief, the final spending plan delivered sad but not unexpected news to several groups who fought to restore cut or reduced funding this year. When executives at Bethlehem’s Public Television station, WLVT, heard Governor Rendell wanted to eliminate a $9 million line item for public television stations, they planned for the worst. The station suffered two rounds of layoffs, and decided to cancel a flagship weekly program unless enough funding was restored in the final spending plan. In the end, public television got 1 million dollars. The means WLVT will get about $100 thousand and Spokesperson Erin Firestone says the show was cancelled, “I think that it was just a reality check that all nonprofits, going forward, are going to have to be much more realistic looking at state and federal funding not always being there.” State agencies are now enacting contingency plans, as well and more layoffs at the state level are expected. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources put together a list of all the state parks, evaluating visitor traffic, cost per visitor, and other factors. Now that park funding has been cut by more than 9 million dollars, officials will decide which, if any, they’ll have to close.