City of San Antonio Decimates Arts Funding, Furloughs 270 Employees in Latest Budget Cuts

Jeph Duarte San Antonio News

click to enlarge The San Antonio Symphony is one of many organizations to lose funding from the city. - COURTESY OF THE SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY

  • Courtesy of the San Antonio Symphony
  • The San Antonio Symphony is one of many organizations to lose funding from the city.

After the city of San Antonio cut $82 million in funding last week, it was only a matter of time before the other shoe dropped.

And now it has.

On Wednesday afternoon, the city announced the latest bad news: the cancellation of funding for local arts organizations and the furlough of 270 municipal employees from five departments.

The cuts are in anticipation of lost tax revenue from the airport, local hotels, the convention center and the Alamodome, all of which have dwindled in use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg made it clear that this is a furlough, not a layoff. That allows furloughed employees to keep their health coverage. City officials will file for unemployment on their behalf.

Local arts agencies will also be hit hard. Funding has been stopped for organizations including the San Antonio Symphony, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and many more. City-run spaces including the Centro de Artes, currently closed due to the stay-at-home order, will now remain shuttered.

The suspension of funding applies to city arts grants as well.

Though Nirenberg made assurances that cuts would be reversed once tax revenue rebounds or other funding mechanisms are found, it remains to be seen how many of San Antonio’s arts organizations will still be around to receive it.

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