Beyond Big Bird: What cuts would do to Mississippi Public Broadcasting

Mississippi Public Broadcasting has already been losing state support because of dwindling state tax collections. It gets about $1.9 million from CPB and another $1 million from private donations, Executive Director Ronnie Agnew said. It was slated to receive about $6.9 million from the state this year but saw that slashed by $345,000 and stands to lose another $461,000 in state money for the next fiscal year.

Some Republicans say public broadcasting doesn’t serve an essential government function and shouldn’t get tax dollars, anyway, so it’s unlikely lawmakers in one of the nation’s poorest states would make up the loss.

Money from CPB typically represents 10 percent to 15 percent of a station’s budget. Stations serving rural and minority communities would likely be hit hardest because they don’t have a broad enough donor base to make up the difference, CPB’s president and chief executive officer, Patricia de Stacy Harrison, recently told Congress.

Last year Congress put $445 million into CPB — a relatively tiny slice of the $4 trillion federal budget.

Clarion Ledger