Arts organizations in Missouri are starving for money—and are saying a violation of state law is involved.   The Senate appropriations committee has been told this is a life or death issue for the Missouri Arts council.  Council Chairman Nola Ruth says the council needs three million dollars in the next state budget “so that we can survive.”

Ruth says the council has received no money in two of the last three years, got only a small part of what it’s entitled to this year, and has used up almost all of its reserves to support hundreds of performance and other arts projects throughout Missouri.

Money supporting arts groups, state library networking, public broadcasting, historic preservation, and the state humanities council comes from the income tax levied on entertainers and athletes from other states who perform here. Sixty percent of that money is supposed to go to the Missouri Cultural Trust Fund.  

But Missouri Citizens for the Arts President Carol Gregg tells state senators the money has been withheld and diverted by the Nixon administration. “Missouri Citizens for the Arts requests the legislature and the governor to please follow the state statutes,” she tells members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The governor will reveal next Monday if he’ll allow any of that money to be used during the next fiscal year according to state law Gregg has cited.

AUDIO: Gregg testfies 4:52

AUDIO: Ruth testifies 2:02