In Wednesday’s (2/2) Greenville News (South Carolina), attorney and former state representative Tom Ervin writes, “Gov. Nikki Haley shocked and disappointed even some of her staunchest supporters by calling for the total elimination of S.C. ETV and the Arts Commission in her State of the State address. … Haley should take a business-like approach to our budget deficit. Economic development is directly linked to the arts and the quality of life we can offer new industry. Do we really want to be the only state that doesn’t have an Arts Commission? Ben Haskew, president of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, was right when he said the arts are a top recruitment tool for new business. Arts education has been shown to contribute to academic achievement, which in turn fuels a vibrant economy. … Tourism is our state’s largest industry. The arts draw thousands of tourists and businesses to events like the Spoleto Festival USA, the South Carolina Jazz Festival and numerous other events each year. Studies have shown that cultural tourists tend to stay longer and they spend twice as much money as other travelers. … The next few weeks will determine whether South Carolina will continue to have an Arts Commission and S.C. ETV.”

Posted February 2, 2011