Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget

I normally won't write a topical post (current events) because that's not what I intended this blog to be about.  But I had to make an exception in this case.  In case you haven't read elsewhere, funding for the Georgia Archives (which includes the Virtual Vault) is scheduled for serious reductions, below the level that the Archive needs to function as a viable public resource.  The letter below has been sent out to many people across the state and the country, and I quote it as is:
Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget

An open letter from FOGAH Chair, Virginia Shadron:

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget that passed the Georgia House of Representatives on March 11 as HB 78 includes budget reductions that could result in the State Archives closing its doors to the public.

The budget contains two items that together would reduce the Archives’ budget by at least $300,000.

The Archives’ base budget, after preceding budget cuts, is $4,643,588. Over 65% of that goes to pay fixed costs (such as rent) that cannot be reduced. The current bill proposes an additional cut in “personal services and … savings from reduced hours …” in the amount of $260,458. The second way in which the Archives’ budget is eroded is that the House budget does not fund the annual increase in the Archives’ rent, an amount of more than $40,000 for FY12.

Altogether, the additional cuts to personal services and the failure to fund the rent increase means that the Archives’ sustains a critical $300,000 in cuts. You might wonder, “What is the fuss about?” That shortfall can come from one place only—and that is staff.

Without intervention the Archives will almost certainly be forced to close its doors to the public, reduce scanning operations and preservation activities, and eliminate most transfers of records from state agencies—the records that protect Georgia financially and legally.

The House version of the budget now goes to the Senate for adjustment and passage. Call and write your state senator immediately and ask that a minimum of $300,000 be restored to the Archives budget! Go to and click on "Find Your Legislator" to find your senator.

- Virginia Shadron

I don't know if letters from non-residents will do any good at this point.  Heck, I don't know if letters from ANYONE will do any good at this point.  But if you still live in Georgia, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE write to and call your Georgia State Senator an let them know that they need to restore the funding for this valuable historical and cultural resource.  Not doing so is like forgoing regular maintenance on your car.  You can't make up for it later.  And we can't just buy a new history if we lose the one we have! 

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Tim, I passed your post on to the Chairman of our local Republican party asking if he had any advice other than our letter writing efforts. I know him well, and he is LDS, which makes this cut especially important to him. If he has any ideas, I'll let you know. I also have posted a link to your post on all of my Facebook pages. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

This is going on across the country. Our state libraries, archives, local libraries and resources at public universities are at risk. I understand the need to balance the budget, but we can't risk our nations heritage and historical artifacts. I'm writing this from New Hampshire, which is debating the same cuts.