rTC 7 Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed a commission today to increase private funding for the arts to fill a void that will be left by a cutback in state aid. "Given the shape of the state's economy, we need to be looking for funding alternatives that will ensure Maryland is a leader in the arts," the governor said. Schaefer has not given any details of his budget plans for the rest of this year or next year. But with the state looking at a combined deficit of more than $1 billion for the next two years, arts funding is expected to take a big hit. The 55-member Governor's Commission on the Future of the Arts in Maryland includes top executives from a blue chip list of Maryland corporations. "The arts have a tremendous impact on the state...," Schaefer said from Annapolis. "More than 780,000 children each year learn from educational programs provided by art groups. Additionally, the arts help Maryland's economy by providing 12,000 jobs," Schaefer said.
La Toya's 'pack of lies':
La Toya Jackson's parents on Monday called her allegations of abuse "a pack of lies," but canceled a news conference to respond to her claims. During radio, television and newspaper interviews to promote her book, "Growing Up in the Jackson Family," the 35-year-old singer has said she was sexually abused by her father. She makes no mention of it in her book. She also has said she and her eight siblings, including brother Michael, endured emotional and physical abuse by their parents. Joseph and Katherine Jackson had scheduled a news conference for Monday, but canceled it and issued a statement. "After careful consideration, the Jackson family has decided not to dignify La Toya's allegations with a response," the statement said. "We know, and we hope all our friends and fans know, that her ongoing statements are a pack of lies and any comment from us would only add fuel to the fire." La Toya Jackson's New York publicist, Valerie Silverman, said there was no immediate response from the singer.