Trends and News from Other State Arts Advocacy Organizations

Written by Andy Thomas

At the beginning of June we summarized the Colorado General Assembly (CGA) 2012 session and informed you of the Creative Industries Division (CCI) current budget climate.

In this update, are summarizing some other notable state art agency budget and restructuring activities from around the country for Fiscal Year 2013.

Positives and negatives can be taken from every funding situation but what should be stressed is that many of the proposals described here are pending and could change as deliberations are concluded.

Arizona: According to Arizona Citizens for the Arts, recent advocacy efforts were successful, as HB2265, the bill to reauthorize Arizona Commission for the Arts, passed unanimously. The committee hearing was preceded by a day in which 150 people gathered at the State Capitol to conduct meetings with approximately half of the state’s 90 legislators. These meetings, and advocacy like this in general, are seen as big reason why the legislation was successful.

Kansas: FY2012 was a bleak year for arts in the state of Kansas, as all state funds for the arts were lost. Recently, a new state arts agency was created and funded for FY2013. The state budget appropriates the new Creative Arts Industries $700,000 and three full-time employees. This budget bill, signed and approved by Governor Brownback on June 1st, represents a new and controversial approach to arts funding.

Michigan: In February, Governor Rick Snyder released his Executive Budget Recommendations for FY2013, proposing an increase of $6,150,000 for the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), an increase of $3,582, 600 from the previous year. Currently, subcommittees in each house have endorsed the governor’s recommendation.

New Hampshire: Two pieces of legislation were presented to the House that would have threatened the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. HB1274, which proposed abolishing the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR), was amended so the language no longer included the abolishment.

A second bill, HB1285, which sought to eliminate the State Art Fund, was sent to interim study by the House Finance committee. This recommendation was passed by the full House on March 28, leaving the program intact while the legal, curatorial and financial implications of the proposal can be examined.

Utah: Hoping to increse punding towards the State’s botanical, zoological and cultural organizations, HJR13 will place a non binding question on the upcoming ballot asking voters if they would favor an increase in state’s sales tax in order to better fund these programs. If passed, the measure will not create the tax, but will more accurately gauge the interest of the public and better understand their support.