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Cultural groups boost quality of life, economy

County Executive Mark Poloncarz has included $3,000 for Community Music School in his 2013 budget. If the funding is approved, it will represent less than 1 percent of our entire annual budget, but it will help us to create new programs that reach a wider array of people across Erie County. That, in turn, will contribute to the quality of life that taxpayers insist upon.

But this is more than a quality-of-life issue. Arts and cultural organizations are engines of economic activity. Although based in Buffalo, we also have five satellite locations across Erie County, and we draw people from neighboring counties. We patronize businesses and we pay user fees. We employ more than 40 people. The county’s modest investment gives us the impetus to attract more private funding and hire more people, generating real economic impact. And we’re the tip of the iceberg. The county executive is looking to invest in 57 other cultural organizations, too.

Poloncarz understands that cultural organizations boost both our quality of life and our economy. He should be commended for seeing the whole picture.

Jeff Paterson

Executive Director

Community Music School