'It is time for American citizens to stop funding an organization that can stand on its own feet', said Rep Doug Lamborn, R-Colo, sponsor of a bill to end federal funding to National Public Radio.
NPR only gets about 2% of its budget through competitive federal grants. Another 40% of NPR's budget comes from public radio stations like KZYX, Mendocino County's local community radio, which pays dues to broadcast NPR programs.
Most of the 228 Republicans who voted for this ill-advised bill represent Americans living in rural areas. For rural Americans, tiny community radio stations are a lifeline, warning us of natural disasters hours or days before commercial media can find us on a map.
Mendocino County citizens, do you remember the 100+ wildfires raging during the summer of 2008? Information meant the difference between taking a road engulfed in flames and getting to safety. And that information came to us via local radio.
If chronically underfunded local public radio stations cannot spend their CPB apportionment on NPR programming, they might be able to substitute other programming or reduce the number of hours they are staffed. Some radio stations will fold if this bill becomes law. And the Americans depending on those stations may not hear about the next natural disaster in time.
Rep Lamborn said, "As a country, we no longer have this luxury" of timely information. This would make more sense if GOP representatives were not also voting to give enormous tax breaks to 400 of the richest billionaires. You know, billionaires? People who actually know what luxury is?