In a city that prides itself on its culture and arts, it is incredibly sad that City Manager Tom Higgins has recommended a 25 percent cut in funding to the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County. If the City Council agrees, it will have chopped funding to the Arts Council by 45 percent since 2007.This in a town that calls itself "The City of Cowboys and Culture."This in a city where Mayor Betsy Price declared during a recent pre-council meeting: "The quality of life would be totally different without the arts."I wholeheartedly agree. Fort Worth's quality of life would be totally different without the arts.The arts brought me here, and they're one reason I stay. In any community, the arts inspire people, help form young minds, make us laugh and cry, and truly define a community's heart. This is more true in Fort Worth than in most cities.In addition, the arts mean big dollars. According to a study commissioned by Americans for the Arts and endorsed by the National League of Cities and the Conference of Mayors, the arts provide more than $84 million in economic return to Fort Worth annually. This money pays for real jobs, rings the cash registers of local businesses and boosts tax revenues. The study also found that, if arts events were not offered in Fort Worth, residents and visitors would travel elsewhere to enjoy other offerings.Cuts to the arts would also have a negative impact on hiring and business development in Fort Worth. According to a 2008 study by the Texas Cultural Trust:Wages in the creative sector are 80.8 percent higher on average than in non-creative industries.The creative sector creates jobs that cannot be outsourced, while supporting and re-circulating money within the community.By 2016, one in 12 Texas jobs are projected to be in the creative industries; between 2006 and 2016, creative sector employment is projected to increase by 22.4 percent, or 140,000 net new jobs.Cuts to the Arts Council over the last five years have already hamstrung Fort Worth's ability to meet one of its key strategic goals: to strengthen its economic base, develop the future work force and create quality job opportunities. One measure for meeting this goal is for the city to complete a specific number of public arts projects each year. The Fort Worth Planning and Development Department has said this measure has not been met in recent years. Future cuts to the Arts Council will have the same negative impact on the city's ability to fulfill its stated vision. Keeping the arts fully funded will help ensure that we remain competitive and vital. It will ensure that we continue to attract visitors and conventions. It will help our businesses recruit and retain not only highly paid workers in the creative industries, but also young professionals who care about the quality of life in the cities they choose.In Fort Worth, we know that funding the arts is not only good for the soul. It's good for business, too.Jody Ulich is president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County.