Led by Miami's Manny Diaz, the nation's mayors are rebuking Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- the anti stim package Republican who questioned giving $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts.
"America's mayors are extremely disappointed by your recent statements questioning the economic impact of the arts to our national, state and local economies," a letter to Jindal from the mayors reads. The money, the letter says, "represents .00635% of the total funding provided in the act" and has "become a convenient political scapegoat."
Jindal's response to President Barack Obama's speech to Congress had already infuriated pols in Alaska, offended by Jindal's mocking of volcano research.
"Volcano monitoring is a matter of life and death in Alaska," Democratic Sen. Mark Begich said in an open letter to Jindal.
The mayors noted that Louisiana -- according to Dun & Bradstreet -- "is home to 7,013 arts-related businesses that employ 27,117 people." And it says that in 2008, Louisiana received 27 grants worth $1.3 million from the NEA.
"Mayors clearly understand the important contribution of the arts to our local communities, financially and in terms of the quality of life for our residents," said the letter signed by Diaz. "We remain hopeful that
the foregoing information will assist you in more clearly understanding this issue, and that, as a result, arts funding will no longer serve as your basis for opposing the act."