Talking Points: Why Are The Arts Important To Maryland?

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Talking Points - 2015 General Assembly Session

 

After the election, MCA presented a proposal to the Governor’s transition team which would have protected arts funding and provided additional savings in the state’s budget.  We understand that the transition time was brief and there were many difficult decisions to be made.  However, the proposal was not adopted.


The arts sector is disappointed with the proposed cuts to state arts funding, especially the immediate mid-year cut which will reduce the state’s arts organizations’ final grant payments for FY 2015.  As a result, MCA is intensifying its efforts to advocate for our original proposal with the Governor and the General Assembly.


The proposed cuts, 5% in both FY 2015 and FY 2016 (based on current funding level) are disproportionate to the proposed 2% across the board cuts for all state agencies.  As such, the key talking points / focus of advocacy efforts are as follows:


1)     MCA’s proposal would restore FY 2015 and 2016 cuts to level fund the arts and still provide fiscal relief in the General Fund. Advocates will encourage their legislators to:

  1. a.      Reject the Budget’s call for 5% mid-year cut in FY 2015
  2. b.      Reject the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) action that would reduce the FY 2016 appropriation to $15.4 million
  3. c.       Release the “Special Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Arts” revenue to restore FY 2015 and 2016 to level funding at $16.2 million each, and provide additional fiscal relief for the state.

2)     The state’s investment in the arts provides a greater than 3:1 return (Arts Economic Impact Report, DBED).  Cutting arts funding means cutting tax revenue at a time when the state cannot afford to.

 

3)     Nonprofit arts organizations are small businesses.  What’s more, a strong, well supported arts sector is critical for any state looking to attract and retain businesses and residents.