One can always make an argument such as that from Madison Mayor Paul Soglin that cutbacks need to be made in city budgeting, and that core services need to be the first consideration. There is even reason to support his argument that more borrowed money is not the best route to proceed with some projects.
That sounds great, and makes sense on one level.
If this were Anywhere Else, USA and the project not the Overture Center then perhaps Soglin would be correct.
But this is Madison, Wisconsin and the Overture Center is a gem.
It merits our support, and can not allowed to suffer a decrease in funding because the mayor has a long-simmering issue with the arts center.
Whatever gripe Soglin has with the Overture needs to be handled on some professional’s couch. I truly do not understand his concerns with the arts center, or his desire to continue undermine it.
Meanwhile the rest of us need to support the effort of Alder Mike Verveer as he works to marshal an amendment through the budget process which would restore all but $100,000 of the promised funds to the art center.
There are now 14 alders with the foresight to understand why Overture matters, and should receive $1.75 million. The continued investment and support for this most remarkable center will allow it to grow and prosper.
No one can deny the self-improvement from the funding side that the arts center has achieved this past year. It is vital that the city continue to be a partner with Overture.
I know Soglin is interested in making sure a tight budget can achieve many things, but he needs to be mindful that there will not always be the current economic clouds hanging over our heads.
Madison should not forsake a gem in our midst, something that many other cities would love to have and call their own, for the sake of making the bottom line look a certain way this budget cycle. Let us not undermine the Overture Center now, and come to regret it when the boom times come around again.