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A Message to the Governor of Arizona:

N.B. The following was written in response to a proposal by Governor Hull's office to cut Arts Commission funding by 55%. This was early in the budget process. The latest proposal cuts funding by only 3%.

I would like the Governor to be aware that cuts in state arts funding are driving business away from Arizona. I established my business in Phoenix because of the vital arts community in the area. As I watched arts organizations struggle year after year to make a little bit of progress in the face of an openly hostile state funding environment, I decided this was not the place I wanted to do business. Six months ago I moved to Kentucky where, despite even more serious budget problems, it is recognized that the cultural life of the state is its most important asset.

The Governor's proposal to slash arts funding in Arizona by 55% sends a clear message to anyone wanting to do business with the state: We don't care about the cultural life of our communities.

The impact of an extremely modest investment in state arts funding is leveraged to an astounding level. The arts industry is the most productive workforce you can imagine, routinely generating their products on time and under budget. The impact of arts thinking has wide influence on disaffected youth and depressed minorities, making them see possibilities in action.

Governor, this kind of action is the epitome of "penny wise and pound foolish." Arts funding is the last thing you should be cutting, especially in difficult economic times. That which you will lose by this action will not be easily regained.

Dwight Newton