Proposed State Budget Cuts Deeply Affect Heritage

Two recent Crosscut articles by Knute Berger delve into how heritage is negatively impacted by the Governor’s budget. In “Heritage gets hammered by Gregoire’s budget,” Berger looks at how the budget proposes to close two outstanding state museums–the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. This would be a huge blow to heritage and culture on both sides of the state. Both museums are incredible educational and cultural resources that are housed in relatively new state-of-the-art facilities. Also proposed is merging the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) into the Department of Natural Resources. DAHP should remain as its own department where it is run efficiently and effectively and not be buried within a larger bureaucracy that has a different mission and goals.

In the second article, “More victims of the heritage hatchet,” Berger looks specifically at how the proposed budget eliminates the $10 million Heritage Capital Projects Fund (HCPF) for the 2011-2013 biennium. This means that 29 worthy projects across the state will not get the funding that was recommended by a grant review panel in the summer of 2010. Since 1997, this competitive grant has offered a significant source of funds for a variety of projects that help interpret and preserve Washington’s history and heritage. Let’s hope the legislature restores the HCPF in the upcoming legislative session.


1 Response to “Proposed State Budget Cuts Deeply Affect Heritage”

  1. 1 John Chaney December 23, 2010 at 9:13 am

    To be honest what did we expect. Only San Juan County voted NO on the 2/3 majority requirement for new taxes, Yes by over 6 points in King County. Only San Juan County voted Yes on an Income Tax, No by over 28 points in King County. Only San Juan and King County voted yes to keep the beverage and candy tax. In a state dependent on property and business operations revenues, these are bad times.

    I find the State Museums vastly important repositories of our common heritage. The State Capital funds for heritage projects have saved hundreds of historic places and helped many museums open their doors to larger and more diverse audiences. l remember the times when DAHP was a buried part of a larger department, it was frustrating and harmed our community. The Governor remarked that she did not hear a word about arts at the Budget hearings across the state, did she hear about Heritage and Historic Preservation?

    We must raise the merits of Heritage and Historic Preservation at every opportunity when priorities of public funding are discussed. We must have strong compelling testimony of the tangible and intangible values that heritage and historic preservation add to our families and economy. We must be willing to do more than question the Governor’s (and I might add also the voters) priorities. When was the last time every member of the legislature was inundated with mail, e-mail, telephone and direct communication on our priorities? This budget hurts the people and health of our state, so our voice must gain greater visibility than ever before or are we resigned to just taking the cuts and waiting out the storm? Coming back will only be harder if we don’t fight the good fight right now. Are we up to it?

    John Chaney, Fall City

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The writers who post entries on MAin2 represent various views and opinions. The blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Historic Seattle.

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