WASHINGTON — Have you seen National Public Radio’s sensational new $200 million headquarters that boasts a gourmet restaurant and chef, wellness center, state-of-the-art newsroom with soaring ceilings and top-shelf audio equipment worth $40 million?
Colorado’s Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has, and thinks the extravagance demonstrates that the publicly funded radio station is strong enough to stand on its own financially without taxpayer dollars.
“At a time when millions of federal works are being furloughed, school children are barred from visiting the White House, and many military training flights are grounded all to save money, it is unacceptable that taxpayers are still on the hook for millions of dollars each year to subsidize National Public Radio,” Lamborn said.
“Additionally, it was highly inappropriate for NPR to move into a lavish new headquarters building partly paid for by taxpayers, many of whom continue to struggle under the worst economy since the Great Depression,” Lamborn said.
The Coloradoan introduced legislation this week to strip taxpayer funds from the organization, which has come to depend on private donors to keep it on the air.
In 2010, public radio operated on $56 million from private donations and $5 million from taxpayer dollars.
Lamborn argues that government-funded broadcasting is no longer necessary in an age of 500-channel and smart televisions that allow Internet hookups.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967 to ensure “”telecommunications services available to all citizens of the United States.”
Today the broadcast company operates in a thriving private market, so taxpayer funding is completely unnecessary, Lamborn said.
The new 400,000 square foot building on North Capitol Street was also awarded $40 million in tax breaks by the District of Columbia for 20 years.