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Iowa Public Television Takes Hit Under Trump Budget Proposal

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DES MOINES, Iowa — President Trump has released his budget blueprint to “Make America Great Again”;  under the plan Iowa Public Television would see a 17% cut to their funding.

The plan would see the federal government borrow 559 billion dollars in 2017; that’s about 40 billion less than the year before.

Trump’s budget increases military and homeland security funding by 54 billion dollars.

Off-setting that increase would be a 31% funding cut for the EPA and a 28 percent cut for the State Department.

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut entirely.

Iowa Public Television is in the middle of their festival, raising money through private donations.  If President Trump’s budget goes through as-is and eliminates the Cooperation for Public B
roadcasting, they say they’ll need a lot more phone calls.

“It’s 17% of our budget, it pays for 25 people, and it touches all areas of public television” said IPTV Executive Director Molly Phillips.

Phillips says these cuts mean less locally produced programs, less interaction with young school children, and less reliability.

“Maybe the channel you watch in Sioux City, if that transmitter goes down it could be longer to get someone out there to fix the problem, so people will see a difference” said Phillips.

Phillips says two million people watch IPTV every month, and that taking away the money will hurt more people than it will help curb excess spending.

“It’s 445 million dollars that goes to the corporation for public broadcasting, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s .01% of the overall budget” said Phillips.

But how likely is it that the budget moves through congress and comes out the other side untouched?

“I don’t think there’s any question the president’s budget will be significantly changed” said Professor of Political Science Rachel Paine Caufield.

Paine Caufield teaches at Drake University and says if the past is any indication, the dramatic cuts President Trump is proposing will be scaled back.

“Congress during the past several years has not actually passed a full budget, Congress has funded the government through continuing resolution, and those continuing resolution have favored status quo spending levels” said Paine Caufield.

Regardless of how the budget shakes out, Paine Caufield says the proposed budget sends a clear message to members of government here and abroad.

“Focusing more on military might creates a very different perception of the United States around the world, and I think the president’s worldview is very much focused on the idea of exerting might, just absolute U.S. power abroad” said Paine Caufield.

Paine Caufiled says that President Trump’s budget is not all that different from previous republican plans in terms of where the cuts come from, but is different in terms of how much larger the cuts are this time around.

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