NASAA Notes: March 2011


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Angela Han

March issue
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March 4, 2011

Per Capita Spending and Ranking, Appropriations Histories, and Other Funding Questions

As a national source of information on public arts funding, NASAA provides a knowledge network and a fact base to help state arts agencies make informed policy decisions and put their own state’s needs and experiences in context. Providing customized responses to member questions is a hallmark of NASAA. This column offers specific examples of the NASAA research services available and shows how they can be customized to meet your needs.

Some of the most frequent requests for information NASAA receives are about the state-by-state per capita spending and rankings data NASAA produces annually. These calculations of state arts agency funds spent per person in each state provide a useful benchmark. The current year’s per capita spending and ranking table, as well as a FAQ, are available on NASAA’s website.

Members can request customized information on this topic. Here are some questions members have asked about per capita data:

  • What was our state’s highest ranking in history, and what was the per capita amount?
  • How would our per capita ranking change if our appropriation increased by $500,000?
  • We just received a cut in our appropriation. How does this affect our per capita ranking?
  • What was each state’s per capita amount and ranking for the past two fiscal years?
  • What would our per capita spending figure be if our appropriation was cut by 50%? By 14%?

Members can request customized information on other funding topics. Questions members have asked about legislative appropriations and funding include:

  • At our next council meeting, I would like to talk about funding trends for state appropriations to state arts agencies in our region, with a particular focus on the cuts sustained through the recession. Can you help me put together the charts and graphs for my presentation slides?
  • We are prepping a legislator and would like to provide him a concise overview of how levels of public funding in the arts across the country have been changing. Can you provide us with this overview?
  • Our records indicate that we received our first legislative appropriation in 1967. Can you verify this against your historical appropriations database?
  • My director is curious as to how the budgets fared for two state arts agencies similar to ours. Do you know what the governors’ recommendations were for both states, and whether the legislatures supported, increased or decreased their budgets?
  • What other states have a dedicated tax for the arts?
  • How have appropriations as a percentage of general fund dollars changed for my state arts agency over the past 15 years?

Contact Angela Han to request customized information. For an overview of fiscal year 2011 state arts agency legislative appropriations, consult the press release, the full FY2011 Legislative Appropriations Annual Survey report, and the State Budget Center. Additional information on funding and why government should support the arts is available on the NASAA website.