Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, asked Wayne Hammon about the proposal to eliminate state funding for Idaho Public Television over the next four years, noting that three-quarters of IPTV’s budget already comes from other sources. “We have used general fund money to give them seed money, in order to be inventive and grow their budget,” she said, questioning how quality programming can be maintained if further cuts are made. Hammon responded that he has “the greatest deal of respect for public television and for its director, Peter Morrill,” who he said has “been able to turn pennies into dollars.” Hammon said he doesn’t think IPTV gets credit for all the things it does, and perhaps it should be paid for some of those. If the network provides teleprompters for the governor’s speech, perhaps the governor should pay, he said. If it provides live broadcasts for the Legislature, perhaps the Legislature should pay.
JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, responded, “Your visit with Rep. Ringo about public broadcasting showed that they really have a right to some general funds in what they’re doing - perhaps just a different way of reorganizing will help.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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