NASAA Notes: February 2015

February 6, 2015

Obama Proposes Slight NEA Increase

On Monday, February 2, President Obama submitted his budget proposal for fiscal year 2016, which begins on October 1. The president’s budget, which is not binding but is an important indicator of the administration’s policy priorities, includes robust funding for transportation projects, tax credits to low- and middle-income Americans, and suggestions for paying for those measures through increased taxes on foreign corporations and high-income earners.

The president’s budget recommends increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from its current level of just over $146 million to $147,949,000. While we are disappointed that the president did not request a higher level of funding for the NEA, it is important to remember the current dynamic in the nation’s capital. After many years of divided government in Washington, the Republican Party won control of both chambers of Congress, partly on a platform of reducing federal spending. As a result, securing an increase in funding for any agency, including the NEA, will be a challenge.

In other areas of the budget, the National Endowment for the Humanities received an identical funding recommendation of $147,949,000. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) was offered a proposed increase of almost $10 million, from $227,860,000 to $237,427,957. While details are emerging, it is believed that this increase is primarily intended to support the funding of a national digital platform, which will be funded through the IMLS National Leadership Grants for libraries ($5.3 million) and museums ($3.5 million).

Also of note, after recommending the elimination of the Arts in Education program at the Department of Education in each of its previous budgets, I am pleased to report that the Obama administration did not propose doing so again this year, preserving the program’s $25 million budget. To all of you who spoke to your elected officials about the value of this important program: Thank you!

Now that the president’s budget has been released, work will begin in earnest on the budget for FY2016. NASAA is already engaging with our fellow advocacy organizations in Washington, as we prepare for Arts Advocacy day in March. We hope to see you there—and in the meantime, please continue to reach out to your elected officials and urge their support for the NEA and other arts programs.

In this Issue

Executive Director's Column

State to State

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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