Arts advocacy group gives thumbs up to Governor-elect Snyder

Nov 4, 2010

Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy group, says Michigan's governor elect is a champion of the arts.

In Republican Rick Snyder's plan to reinvent Michigan, he talks about "restoring funding for the arts." State funding is currently around $2.5 million, down from $26 million in 2001.

Nina Ozlu Tunceli is with Americans for the Arts, and she says she likes how Snyder also talks about how he wants to attract and retain young talent in Michigan:

"He understands creative people are part of that solution and having creative, vibrant communities are part of the reason young, talented people want to stay in Michigan and why corporations will want to relocate or come for the first time."

Michigan faces a projected $1.6 billion budget deficit, so it remains to be seen what cuts Snyder will have to make when the time comes. And the budget deficit could be even bigger. Here's a snippet from a recent report by Lester Graham on Michigan Radio:

"Next year the state is already facing an estimated $1.6 billion deficit. Add to that...Snyder's $1.5 billion [in business tax cuts], then add to that it's not very likely there will be any more federal stimulus dollars which have helped keep the state afloat the last couple of years, and then finally starting in 2012, there's a scheduled personal income tax rollback.

Suddenly the state of Michigan is facing at least a $2 billion deficit next year - maybe a $3 billion deficit, and it just gets worse in subsequent years.

A spokesman for ArtServe Michigan, the state's arts advocacy group, says he hasn't been in touch with Snyder's transition team yet, but he's looking forward to doing so.