FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2018
Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720
Mass House Budget Plan Would Boost Funding for Arts, Humanities, & Sciences by $500,000
(Boston, MA) - The state House of Representatives has approved a budget plan for the coming fiscal year that would increase funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Mass Cultural Council by $500,000.
The House budget plan would fund Mass Cultural Council at $14.5 million for FY 2019, which begins July 1. That would represent a roughly six percent increase from the agency’s current state appropriation of just under $14 million.
The plan falls short of $17 million for cultural funding sought through a budget amendment that drew support from more than 100 state representatives over the past week. The amendment was filed by state Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development.
Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker said the Council and its allies will continue to advocate for that $17 state appropriation as the budget debate moves to the Senate. Still she thanked Chairwoman Atkins and her House colleagues who cosponsored her amendment, along with House leadership, for supporting increased funding for the arts and culture.
Walker also thanked the thousands of artists, cultural leaders, educators, and others who made the case for cultural funding through an advocacy campaign led by MASSCreative, and supported by Mass Humanities, the Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and others.
“It is clear the House appreciates the important contribution the cultural sector makes to the Commonwealth, and its recommended increase of $500,000 is a good step at this point in the budget process,” said Walker. “We now move to the Senate where we will continue to make the case for the $17 million necessary to continue our work revitalizing communities, preparing our youth for a productive future and enriching the lives of all who live here.”
A $17 million state appropriation would allow Mass Cultural Council to restore vital grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, communities, school and youth programs, and artists, Walker said. And those investments will yield greater returns to the state through new revenues from cultural tourism, more vibrant communities, and more a creative, resourceful workforce.
The House vote is one key step in the annual state budget process. The Senate Ways & Means Committee will release its own budget proposal in mid-May. Following debate and vote, the full Senate must then reconcile its plan with that of the House before sending a final compromise back to the Governor for his approval and/or vetoes.
See our Advocacy Action Center for updates on this budget process along with the latest data on the nonprofit cultural sector’s contributions to the Massachusetts economy and quality of life.
About the Mass Cultural Council
The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency that promotes excellence, access, education, and diversity in the arts, humanities, and sciences, to improve our quality of life and contribute to the vitality of our communities. The agency pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Its FY18 budget is $15.7 million, supported through a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. Mass Cultural Council also runs the $10 million Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.