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Arts board could become a nonprofit

Published (2/13/2009)
By Sonja Hegman
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The Minnesota State Arts Board could be turned into a nonprofit, if Gov. Tim Pawlenty has his way.

The House Cultural and Outdoor Resources Finance Division heard its share of the governor’s proposed budget Feb. 9. Presented by Minnesota Management and Budget, the governor has proposed a $23.4 million cut from the 15 accounts overseen by the division.

“The governor is faced with very hard decisions with this budget situation,” said Ryan Baumtroug, a budget officer with Minnesota Management and Budget.

One recommendation involves transitioning the arts board into a private nonprofit organization, with board funding phased out. No state funding would be available beginning with fiscal year 2012.

Concerns arose about the board’s administration of grants, federal funding and competition with its partners.

Mike Roelofs, budget division team leader for Minnesota Management and Budget, said the transition to a nonprofit could reduce federal funding. They would still be able to administer grants, but because of funding, those grant amounts would be less.

Some of the governor’s other recommendations include:

• eliminating all state funding to the Humanities Commission;

• an across-the-board cut of about 5 percent for the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, Council on Black Minnesotans, Chicano-Latino Affairs Council and Minnesota Indian Affairs Council;

• a 72 percent cut to the Amateur Sports Commission;

• no change in funding for the Minnesota and Duluth children’s museums; and

• a 11.4 percent cut to the Minnesota Historical Society.

In addition, $118.2 million expected as a part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment passed last November, would be split between the Department of Agriculture, Board of Water and Soil Resources, Department of Health, Metropolitan Council, Department of Natural Resources, Pollution Control Agency and Public Facilities Authority.

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