FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2017
Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720
House Committee Proposes Deep Funding Cuts for Arts, Humanities & Sciences in Budget Plan
Supporters Seek Increase through Budget Amendment
(Boston, MA) - The House Committee on Ways and Means today released a state budget proposal that recommends $10 million for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Mass Cultural Council for the coming fiscal year.
See Mass Cultural Council's Advocacy Action Center for updates on the budget process and for the latest data on the nonprofit cultural sector’s contributions to the Massachusetts economy and quality of life.
The Council’s current state appropriation is $14 million. The Baker-Polito Administration proposed a modest, two percent increase in its FY18 budget released in January.
The House Ways & Means proposed cut of 28 percent would thus force significant reductions to grants for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, artists, education, and youth programs.
Combined with expected funding reductions from the National Endowments for the Arts & Humanities, state budget cuts could dramatically reverse years of hard-won increases in public support for the cultural sector.
“We consistently see new evidence of the public benefits of investing in our cultural life,” said Anita Walker, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “We should be debating how to strengthen those investments—for our economy, our communities, and our youth—instead of eliminating them.”
State Representative Cory Atkins of Concord, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, filed Amendment # 6 to the House Ways & Means budget to increase funding for the Mass Cultural Council to $16 million for FY18, which begins July 1. This amendment would allow the Council to continue to support core grant programs for nonprofits, communities, schools, and artists. The case for $16 million in state funding next year is online: our Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget Request and Case Statement for Increased Public Investment in Arts & Culture.
The Council will work with MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and others to build support for this amendment by urging House members to sign on as cosponsors to Amendment #6. The full House will take up the FY18 state budget starting the week of April 24.
The House process is one key step in the annual state budget process. The Senate will release its own budget proposal in May. The two chambers must then agree on a tax and spending plan before sending it back to the Governor, who may veto or approve the budget and/or specific line items.
About the Mass Cultural Council
The Mass Cultural Council is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The Mass Cultural Council's total budget for this fiscal year is $16 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Mass Cultural Council also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.