2012 state budget: Georgia Archives funding reduced in HB 78

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’Tis the season for budget negotiations. Here’s the news about the Georgia Archives budget, according to Friends of Georgia Archives & History Chair Virginia Shadron (online here).

The Georgia Archives, as their website says: “identifies and preserves Georgia’s most valuable historical documents.” The Georgia Archives are in Morrow, and are a service offered under the Secretary of the State.

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget that passed the Georgia House of Representatives on March 11th as HB 78 includes budget reductions that probably will result in the State Archives closing its doors to the public. The budget contains two items that together would reduce the Archives’ budget by at least $300,000.

Over 65% of the $4.6 million Archives base budget, already heavily pared by cuts over preceding years, goes to pay fixed costs (think rent, utilities, etc.), which cannot be reduced.

This means the target for the cuts will be staff. And if the staff is reduced, the Georgia Archives probably will have to close to the public, Friends of Georgia Archives & History Chair Virginia Shadron says in an open letter online here.

This House Bill now goes to the Senate. Contact your Senator now if you are concerned about this situation.

Archaeologists use records stored at the Georgia Archives regularly in their research. Most materials are not online, so visiting the Archives is the only way to obtain the unique information stored there.

Note that in 2011 dollars, Shadron reports, the Georgia Archives’ 1982 budget was over $7.5 million, and the staff numbered 90. The projected 2012 budget in the House Bill could only support a staff of 18.