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April 9, 2014

Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720

House Committee Proposes Big Cuts to Funding for Arts, Humanities & Sciences in Budget Proposal

(Boston, MA) – Earlier today the House Committee on Ways and Means released a state budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that recommends just over $5 million for the Mass Cultural Council.

That would represent a 54 percent reduction in state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences. If it stands it would force Mass Cultural Council to make deep cuts to grants for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, education programs, and artists. State support for arts and culture is already less than half of what it was in 2002, even as the nonprofit cultural sector recovers from a prolonged economic downturn that reduced philanthropic support from all sources.

State Representative Cory Atkins of Concord will file an amendment to increase cultural funding to $16 million. Rep. Atkins is House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. She led last year’s effort in the House that resulted in a $1.6 million increase to Mass Cultural Council funding, allowing the agency to restore grants to cultural organizations and local cultural councils, and double funding for arts education in schools.

Amendments are due by 5 p.m. this Friday, April 11, after which they will be assigned a number. Mass Cultural Council will work with MASSCreative and our allies in the cultural sector to build support for the Atkins amendment by urging her House colleagues to sign on as cosponsors. The full House will take up the FY15 state budget starting April 28.

“Across the state, citizens of all backgrounds have called for our elected leaders to adequately invest in the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said Anita Walker, Mass Cultural Council Executive Director. “Mayors and chambers of commerce, artists and educators, creative entrepreneurs and tourism leaders, all agree: We are underinvesting in the vital resource that is our creative community. I hope the Legislature hears their voices and restores this vital funding.”

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 for final approval before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

See Mass Cultural Council'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 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 the quality of life for Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities. Mass Cultural Council pursues this mission through a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. With state funding and an annual state partnership grant from the National Endowment from the Arts, Mass Cultural Council’s budget is $12.7 million for the current year.

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