McDonnell targets public broadcasting

Gov. Bob McDonnell, playing to a favorite issue of his partisan base, included among a package of cost-cutting proposals released on Wednesday a proposal to end taxpayer funding of public broadcasting.

The proposal would save the state $2 million in fiscal-year 2012 and $4 million in fiscal-year 2013, when all funding for public television and radio in Virginia would be eliminated.

“Public broadcasting is a wonderful resource, providing quality programming that is cherished by many. However, in our modern media world there are thousands upon thousands of content providers operating in the free market. They compete with each other, and viewers and listeners have their choice as to what to tune into or turn on. Simply put, it doesn’t make sense to have some stations with the competitive advantage of being funded by taxpayer dollars. The decision to eliminate state funding of public broadcasting is driven by the fundamental need to reestablish the proper role of government, and budget accordingly,” McDonnell said in a statement.

Ending public funding for public broadcasting has long been a talking-point issue for Republicans. A similarly crafted proposal died in the GOP-majority House of Delegates this year. Even with support in the House, the proposal would seem to have a hard time getting past the Democratic-majority State Senate.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

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