Proposed State Budget Cuts Deeply Affect Heritage

Two recent Crosscut articles by Knute Berger delve into how heritage is negatively impacted by the Governor’s budget. In “Heritage gets hammered by Gregoire’s budget,” Berger looks at how the budget proposes to close two outstanding state museums–the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane. This would be a huge blow to heritage and culture on both sides of the state. Both museums are incredible educational and cultural resources that are housed in relatively new state-of-the-art facilities. Also proposed is merging the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP) into the Department of Natural Resources. DAHP should remain as its own department where it is run efficiently and effectively and not be buried within a larger bureaucracy that has a different mission and goals.

In the second article, “More victims of the heritage hatchet,” Berger looks specifically at how the proposed budget eliminates the $10 million Heritage Capital Projects Fund (HCPF) for the 2011-2013 biennium. This means that 29 worthy projects across the state will not get the funding that was recommended by a grant review panel in the summer of 2010. Since 1997, this competitive grant has offered a significant source of funds for a variety of projects that help interpret and preserve Washington’s history and heritage. Let’s hope the legislature restores the HCPF in the upcoming legislative session.