Donald Trump 'to slash funding to public broadcasting and arts programmes'

Budget cut memo leaks as President promises Florida audience a 'historic tax cut'

Jon Sharman
Sunday 19 February 2017 15:03 GMT
President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump (AFP/Getty)

Donald Trump's White House is reportedly considering eliminating funding for public broadcasting, arts programmes and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The proposed move would hit NPR and PBS through cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CBP), which makes a direct grant to PBS and funds local radio stations that pay NPR to use its programmes—accounting for 39 per cent of its revenue.

Also reportedly on the list of at-risk schemes are the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, which provide grants for a huge range of projects, and AmeriCorps, a civil society project for volunteers.

The New York Times reported the "hit list" was drawn up by the White House budget office in order to save about $2.5bn (£2.10bn) a year, out of the $4tn (£3.2tn) federal budget.

The office is ready to move ahead with the plan to cut nine schemes now director Mick Mulvaney has been confirmed by the Senate, the paper said.

Both NPR and PBS receive money through corporate sponsorship, individual donations and from other sources, but member stations that pay to broadcast their programming, and which are funded through the CBP, contribute significant amounts to their budgets.

It was first reported in January that Mr Trump had the arts and public broadcasters in his sights. He also threatened to cut federal funding for UC Berkeley following protests there over the planned visit of a controversial right-wing speaker.

Among his many campaign promises, Mr Trump said he would cut the national budget by 20 per cent and eliminate the US' $19tn (£15.31tn) national debt within eight years.

At the same time he plans to deliver "historic tax reform", as he told his audience at a campaign-style rally in Florida on Friday.

He said: "We are working to lower tax rates in the middle class to reduce tax rates big league on businesses and to make our tax code more fair and very simple for all Americans."

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