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May 23, 2014

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

Senate Increases Funding by $1 Million

(Boston, MA) - The state Senate approved a budget late yesterday that would increase annual funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council by $1 million.

The Senate fiscal year 2015 budget plan allocates $12 million for Mass Cultural Council, an increase of roughly eight percent from its current state appropriation. The Senate must now reconcile its budget proposal with that of the House, which recommended cutting Mass Cultural Council funding to $9.6 million. House and Senate leaders will select members of a conference committee that will work out those differences before bringing a final plan back to their respective chambers, then back to the Governor for his approval. This process should be completed before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

The Senate vote came after a coalition including Mass Cultural Council, MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, with advocates across the state, urged legislators to reverse proposed cuts to cultural funding in earlier versions of the state budget. Mass Cultural Council originally sought $16 million for next year, but House and Senate leaders said such an increase was unrealistic given other demands for state funding.

“This is another step forward in our ongoing effort to reverse a decade of cuts to state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker. “Our elected leaders have once again responded to a clear and united call to restore funding to a cultural sector that contributes so much to our quality of life in Massachusetts.”

Walker thanked Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, and her 25 Senate colleagues who cosponsored her amendment to restore Mass Cultural Council funding. She also thanked the many advocates who weighed in on behalf of Mass Cultural Council and its constituents, and urged them to stay engaged through the final stages of the budget process.

See Mass Cultural Council's Advocacy Action Center for details on the budget process 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 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 all Massachusetts residents and contribute to the vitality of our communities. Mass Cultural Council pursues this mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. Mass Cultural Council’s current state appropriation is just over $11 million.

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