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The elimination of county arts funding, as proposed in the "red budget," would have a devastating impact on all of us. Some of our major and mid-size culturals would be forced to close. The Buffalo Zoo would lose 30 percent of its annual operating budget, the Science Museum and Ujima Theatre 25 percent, and the list goes on and on.

Now, imagine for a moment, if Erie County was contacted by a company that was interested in moving here and had the following arts organizations characteristics:

A direct economic impact of more than $200 million a year. The support and creation of 3,000 full-time jobs. A product that helps to bring national attention to the region and makes it more attractive to other businesses. The county's return on its $5.5 million investment is $37 dollars for every dollar spent. Annual arts attendance is five times the total attendance of Bills' regular season home games.

The arts create economic growth. Money invested in them returns more money to the community. The red budget is aptly named because, if adopted, it will create one thing -- more red ink. Thirty-seven dollars created for every dollar spent. Who wouldn't make that investment?

Randall Kramer

Artistic/Executive Director

MusicalFare Theatre, Amherst