State government in NC is “cut to the bone” say progressive liberals. There is barely enough money to administer the “core functions” of government, goes the argument. So does this mean that the production of “folklife” documentaries is a core function of government?
The North Carolina Arts Council, housed in the state’s Department of Cultural Resources, offers a folklife grant program funded by taxpayer dollars. The grants are “awarded to nonprofit organizations, folklorists, and traditional artists engaged in projects that preserve and perpetuate folklife traditions or educate the public about North Carolina’s folk cultural heritage.”
Included in these grants are money for documentaries, and also salary assistance “to organizations that create a staff position for a professional folklorist.”
NC Open Book shows that 141 such grants have been awarded in the last eight budget years.
Over these past eight years, grant awards have included $92,500 to the NC Folklife Society, $43,700 to the NC Pottery Center, $49,200 to the Smoky Mountain Music Association, $5,000 to the National Basketry Organization, and, of course, $5,000 to the Sparta Teapot Museum (some of these funds may be from federal grants).
The dollar amounts of the grants may pale in comparison to a $20 billion state General Fund budget, however keep in mind that state workers must be employed to administer these grants, and these workers require office space, computers, desks, etc.
And more to the point, taxpayers must question whether such a grant program falls within the proper role of government in society.
Because it falls outside the scope of the proper role of government and diverts taxpayer dollars and state resources away from more urgent uses, the folklife grant program is this week’s Waste of the Week.