16 March 2011

Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget

     I know the economy is hurting, but are we really to this point?

Georgia Archives threatened by House Budget URGENT ACTION REQUIRED!

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 http://www.legis.ga.gov and click on "Find Your Legislator" to find your senator.

- Virginia Shadron

     I wrote a letter to my Senator and to Governor Deal. I implore everyone else to do the same.

I'm writing you to express my concerns regarding the 2012 budget and the Georgia Archive. It seems that the 2012 budget will cut spending in a way that will create a $300,000 shortfall that would require “personal services and … savings from reduced hours …”

As a patron of the GA Archive, I cannot fully express how much the closure or reduction of hours upsets me and other genealogists and family historians. Already, the operating hours have been reduced to three days a week. I drive over an hour each time I visit the Archive. I spend money on gas and food during these visits, helping the local economy. When walking in the parking lot, I notice that there are a great deal of out of state visitors, which can only help the economy as well. This money will be lost if the Archive hours are reduced or eliminated. Genealogy is a very popular hobby, with big business companies helping to drive its popularity with TV Commercials and a show on NBC.

I implore you to restore a minimum of $300,000 to the Archive's budget to ensure that it remains open to the public.

Valerie Craft

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