The Senate Appropriations Committee today restored $860,000 in its version of the state budget for the Georgia Council for the Arts.
The money is needed so the state agency qualifies for federal and regional matching arts grants to non-profit organization. The State house version of the budget had eliminated the agency. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill says lobbying by the arts community around the state paid off.
"When members see that there is genuine public interest in something then I think they do respond. And we had members who had not warmed up to that idea earlier who were impressed by the response from around the state," Hill says.
Hill says the Council for the Arts is still getting a 2 million cut over last year. He says he'd love to increase funding for the arts, but in this budget climate every expenditure competes with things like health care for seniors and public schools.
The Senate version of the budget now has to be reconciled with the house version before final passage.