At Last, A Small Victory For Arts Funding

With the close of the session yesterday afternoon, the House passed HB76, an amendment to the budget that appropriates ancillary funds.

The LPAA was able to get the following funds reinstated in this bill:

  • 1. $750,000 was added back to Decentralized Arts Funding, putting total funding at $2,194,557.
  • 2. $250,000 was added back to Statewide Arts Grants, putting total funding at $589,745.
  • 3. In addition, $65,000 was also placed into arts funding but with direct spending stipulations.
  • This means that yesterday we regained $1,065,000 in arts funding! We should celebrate this as a small victory for the arts during a time when programs and budgets across the board are being slashed.

    This also shows that the LPAA and its lobbyist — with your support from the field — has been able to convey the importance of the arts to our state. Thanks to all who have given time, energy, and money to support us.

    On behalf of the LPAA, we also want to thank ALL OF YOU for your help in getting the message across loud and clear. In a year when it was within the realm of possibility to be completely stricken from the budget, your voice helped protect some level of funding for the time being.

    Since the session began, YOU have sent 86,430 individual messages — 45,955 in this month alone. Just yesterday morning, you answered our call to action with 4,282 emails to both chambers, making sure that we were amended back into the budget. Again, thank you from all of us!

    HOWEVER, at present we are left with a total of only $2,849,302 in Arts Funding – down from $4,831,602. This represents a 42% cut overall from last year. It is particularly important to note that Statewide Arts grants alone took a massive 72% cut!

    Perhaps more importantly, $1,600,000 of this funding is one-time federal stimulus money that will not be available again next year!

    Please click here to take a minute and send a final message to your legislators, thanking them for their hard work on our behalf, but also letting them know that a bigger battle lies ahead of us.

    * * * * *

    The strange twists and turns of this year’s budget process:

    Last fiscal year, initial budget:
    $2,515,120 Decentralized Arts Funding (DAF)
    $2,316,482 Statewide Arts Grants (SAG)

    Last fiscal year, after mid-year cuts:
    $2,324,977 DAF
    $2,179,025 SAG

    Executive Budget recommendations (from Governor’s office) for the coming fiscal year:
    $1,444,557 DAF (45% cut from previous year’s initial budget)
    $ 939,745 SAG (55% cut from previous year’s initial budget)

    Next step, House Appropriations Committee:
    House Appropriations added $750,000 back to DAF
    House Appropriations cut $600,000 from SAG

    $2,194,557 DAF
    $ 339,745 SAG

    So, our NET GAIN at this point was only $150,000!

    Next step, Senate Finance Committee:
    Senate Finance cut $750,000 the House had added for DAF
    Senate Finance does not appropriate any additional funds for SAG

    $1,444,557 DAF
    $ 339,745 SAG

    At that point, we were $600,000 DOWN from the executive budget, and 65% year-over-year. SAG at this point was being cut by 85%! That’s where we were until yesterday.

    HB 76 yesterday accomplished the following:
    Added $750,000 to DAF
    Added $250,000 to SAG
    Added $65,000 in specified allocations

    This puts us back to the following levels:
    $2,194,557 DAF
    $ 589,745 SAG
    $ 65,000 Specified

    In other words:
    DAF took a 13% cut compared to last year
    SAG took a 70% cut compared to last year

    Please take a minute to send a message to thank your legislators for their work, but also to remind them that this is simply not enough to support the cultural economy of our State. Make sure they know that we expect more from them next year!

    Author: dorianrush

    I am a performer, writer and producer in New Orleans and am actively involved with nonprofits that support and advocate for artists and culture in Louisiana.

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