Does Pennsylvania Need to Fund Public TV?

The Allegheny Institute has an excellent post on state funding of public television.  The local Pittsburgh station – WQED – is asking viewers to contribute “their two cents”; not meaning donations, but contacting lawmakers to restore $1.1 million in state taxpayer subsidy (about 4% of their funding).

No doubt the loss in state grant money will force them to tighten their belt—which most Americans have already been doing. And, rather than asking for the state to keep sending the $1.1 million in tax dollars, why not appeal to the viewers and listeners, including the foundation community for a little extra help this year? Ask for $10 from 50,000 of QED’s loyal fans and cut spending by 2 percent.

Like so many others, Public TV is trying to make the case that they are a “worthy” cause – not that they need, or should get, taxpayer funding.  It is one thing to suggest that viewers donate – e.g. “PolicyBlog readers should consider contributing to the Commonwealth Foundation” – but another to suggest I should compel my neighbor to do so, under threat of force.