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Arts Funding

April 25, 1993

I read your editorial "If the Arts Go, L.A.'s Soul Goes" (April 11) with great consternation. You have not only misinterpreted, you have misheard my proposal to modify our city's funding mechanism for the arts.

The city is facing a budget deficit that may reach $500 million in the upcoming fiscal year--almost one-fourth of our entire discretionary budget. For the last few months I have served as chair of the council's Ad Hoc Committee on the Budget Crisis, which is charged with dealing with this doomsday scenario. We reviewed the cultural grants program, which is entitled by ordinance to receive an amount equivalent to 1% of the transient occupancy (hotel bed) tax collected by the city. This money (approximately $4.5 million a year) would be available to the general fund for expenditure on police, fire, libraries, etc., if it were not restricted in this manner. It was my proposal, and the proposal of the committee, that we change the ordinance so that the 1% amount would not be set in stone, but could be adjusted on an annual basis by action of the mayor and council.

I am not advocating the elimination or even a severe restriction on monies available to the arts. My approach will allow us to make cuts in the arts program, if necessary and proportionate to cuts being made in other city departments.

ZEV YAROSLAVSKY

Councilman, Fifth District

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