On Thursday, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R.W.Va., released the following statement announcing this week’s YouCut winner, a proposal that would eliminate taxpayer-funded support for National Public Radio.
She says, “The American people have sent a loud and clear message to Congress to end the out-of-control spending which has become the norm in Washington. Republicans will live up to our promise of cutting back spending and reducing the deficit by continuing the successful YouCut program in the Majority.
“This week’s winner, proposed by Congressman Doug Lamborn, R.Co., would eliminate taxpayer funding for National Public Radio. The public was outraged when NPR fired Juan Williams, an action that called into question NPR’s impartiality as a public broadcasting station. Simply put, taxpayer money should not go toward perpetuating a political agenda.
“I’d like to thank the thousands of West Virginians who have taken time out of their day to tell Washington that they are fed up with excessive, wasteful spending. Through our program, citizens across our state and the country are speaking out.”
NPR's recent decision to terminate commentator Juan Williams contract because of comments he expressed on another station have brought new found attention to NPR's receipt of taxpayer funds.
NPR receives taxpayer funding in two different ways. First, it receives direct government grants from various federal agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts. Over the past two years, this direct funding has totaled approximately $9 million, but NPR also receives taxpayer funds indirectly.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes grants to public radio stations. While some of these grants can be used for any purpose, some can only be used to acquire and produce programming. This programming is often purchased from NPR.
Programming fees and dues paid by local public radio stations to NPR accounts for approximately 40 percent of NPR's budget, or about $65 million last year. A portion of these funds were originally federal tax dollars provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the local public radio stations.
NPR receives a significant amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. For example in 2008, NPR listed over 32 separate private donors and sponsors who provided financial support in excess of half-a-million dollars that year.
NPR officials have indicated that taxpayer funding makes up only a small portion of their overall budget. Therefore eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR’s ability to operate while at the same time saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually.