Senator speaks out after signing petition to cut library funding

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Two days after a petition was filed and controversy arose, a state official is speaking out on why he signed it.

Arkansas Senator Dan Sullivan said there is no reason for a library to have a surplus, but Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library Director Venessa Adams said they need every penny they have saved.

Sullivan has strong feelings about the petition to cut funding for the library in half as he was one first people to sign the petition.

He explained that in a world where everyone is making cuts, he feels the library should do the same.

“There are lots of thing’s business cut all the time, in matter-of-fact people in their households are cutting right now and having to figure out ways to put food on the table,” Sullivan said. “If everyone else is going through cuts, to ask the library to tighten up their budget and their spending I think is very reasonable.”

Along with tightening the budget, Sullivan believed there is no reason the library should have as much money left over each year as they do

“How many families have a surplus in their bank account right now with prices going up record inflation,” he said. “Families don’t have a surplus, but the library has a six-million dollar, one-million a year surplus.”

According to the library’s budget for 2021, they finished the year with $822,248 under budget.

However, Adams said it’s important to note the library is forward funded, adding about $2,111,026.25 of the $6,000,000 mentioned will go to future years.

Sullivan said there are places he would rather see the money go.

“It is important that our tax money be used wisely,” he said. “I would rather see the citizens have a surplus than a state government or a county government have a surplus.”

The library has already canceled interviews with potential employees until after they find out the result of the election.