End Taxpayer Funding of National Public Radio

  • Potential 10 Year Savings: $10s of Millions
  • Sponsor: Rep. Doug Lamborn
  • Legislation:
  • Status: Voted on House Floor

National Public Radio's (NPR) recent decision to terminate commentator Juan Williams contract because of comments he expressed on another station have brought new found attention to NPR's receipt of taxpayer funds. NPR receives taxpayer funding in two different ways. First, they receive direct government grants from various federal agencies, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Over the past two years this direct funding has totaled approximately $9 million. But NPR also receives taxpayer funds indirectly. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting makes grants to public radio stations. While some of these grants can be used for any purpose, some can only be used to acquire and produce programming. Often this programming is purchased from NPR. Indeed programming fees and dues paid by local public radio stations to NPR accounts for approximately 40% of NPR's budget or about $65 million last year. A portion of these funds were originally federal tax dollars provided to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the local public radio stations. Flow of Federal Tax Dollars to National Public Radio: NPR receives a significant amount of funding from private individuals and organizations through donations and sponsorships. For example in 2008, NPR listed over 32 separate private donors and sponsors who provided financial support in excess of half-a-million dollars that year. NPR officials have indicated that taxpayer funding makes up only a small portion of their overall budget. Therefore eliminating taxpayer support should not materially affect NPR's ability to operate while at the same time saving taxpayers millions of dollars annually.

ERIC CANTOR