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A Threat to the Arts at the State Budget Level

As an advocate for the arts with the Dover Cultural Council there is need to respond to proposed budget cuts at the State level.

As I was checking my emails today the message below was brought to my attention from the Mass Cultural Council. I am writing about this and sharing the press release I received below as this is cause for major concern. As I had mentioned in my blog in mid February evidence shows how the arts are the seed that drives economic growth and creativity. It is too easy for those who don't understand this to simply propose cuts to manage a short term budget, however, the longer term impact can actually hurt economic opportunity.  

If we want to have well rounded children and well balanced communities PLEASE do not support these budget cuts and when given the opportunity share your views with the appropriate contacts.  Through my experience in the public school system as an advocate for the arts particularly at the high school I have learned that it is often impossible to reinstate a program once it is cut.  Don't let this happen to the arts in our communities.  

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2012

Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director 617-727-3668 x343

House Committee Proposes $1.2 Million Cut to Arts, Sciences, and Humanities in FY13 Budget for MCC

(Boston, MA) Today the House Committee on Ways and Means released a state budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that recommends $8 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This would represent a budget cut of $1.2 million (13%) for thousands of public programs that the MCC supports each year in the arts, sciences, and humanities statewide. 

MCC and its supporters in the House of Representatives will now work to pass an amendment to restore state funding when the full House takes up the budget April 23.

State support for the agency is already less than half of what it was a decade ago, and if passed the House Ways and Means proposal would translate into further cuts to grants for nonprofit cultural organizations, communities, schools, and youth programs - all of which are already suffering from reduced support from public and private sources over a prolonged economic downturn.

"The fact is that arts and cultural funding returns dividends to the Commonwealth through job creation, community vitality, and education,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “We will continue to make the case to our supporters in the Legislature that this is a worthy investment even amid continued strains on state finances. And we ask all of our allies in the cultural sector to add their voice to this effort by urging their Representatives to support restoration of MCC funding through the amendment process.”

MCC will send an update to the field before week's end with details on the amendment and how the cultural sector can build support for it.

The House budget is one key step in the annual state budget process. The Senate will release its own budget recommendations in May. The two chambers must then agree on a budget before sending it back to the Governor for final approval before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

See MCC's Advocacy Action Center for updates on the amendment and for the latest data on the nonprofit cultural sector’s contributions to the Massachusetts economy and quality of life.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. With state funding, an annual state partnership grant from the National Endowment from the Arts, and funds from Bank of America, MCC’s total fiscal year 2012 budget is $10.8 million. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Wendy Bornstein April 24, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Proposed cut was reversed today: Two weeks ago, the House Ways and Means Committee recommended a budget of $8.0 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council in FY13. Last night the House of Representatives approved an amendment to increase that amount to $9.5 million. The amendment reverses what was originally a proposed cut of $1.2 million in the original Ways and Means budget, and now puts the full House on record supporting an increase of $300,000. The amendment was sponsored by Representative Sarah Peake of Provincetown, and was cosponsored by more than 60 House members. "This is great news for the cultural community," said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker, "and a testament to all of the legislators who supported this amendment." "The House recognized that cutting funding for arts and culture would undermine our economic recovery by weakening one of our state's most vibrant sectors. We thank Chairwoman Peake and all of the House members who championed our cause." Walker urged arts and cultural leaders to maintain their advocacy as the debate moves to the Senate. The Senate Ways and Means Committee will release its budget proposal sometime in mid-May. The House and Senate must agree on a budget plan before the new fiscal year begins on July 1. "We'll continue to make our case," said Walker. "Arts and culture revitalize our communities, enliven our classrooms, and give meaning to our lives. This is a terrific public investment."

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