NASAA Notes: March 2018

March 9, 2018

Arts Advocacy Opportunities

With Arts Advocacy Day only a few days away, we are at a critical point in time here in Washington. At this moment, members of Congress are working feverishly to wrap up work on fiscal year 2018 appropriations legislation while simultaneously beginning the process for FY2019. Because our champions on the Hill have a lot of work in front of them, it is especially important that arts advocates stay focused and on message in the weeks and months ahead.

Here is a snapshot of where we are at the moment: Funding for the federal government is set to expire on March 23, and legislators in both chambers are working furiously to meet that deadline. Their job was made a little easier last month, when, during the last budget negotiation, members of the House and Senate reached an agreement on overall spending for defense and nondefense spending for this fiscal year and next year. While many details remain to be settled (such as how that money should be spent), a major sticking point between the parties, total spending, is now settled.

The key detail for arts advocates to keep in mind is that, while that agreement gives Congress an additional $60 billion to spend on nondefense discretionary programs, the House has already passed legislation reducing the National Endowment for the Arts’s (NEA) budget for the year by $4 million. In your meetings with your members of Congress next week, it is critical that you remind them that our ask for FY2018 is $155 million, which would represent a $5 million increase over the NEA’s current level of $150 million. We are also asking Congress to fund the agency at $155 million in FY2019.

As always, should you be in D.C. for meetings or just communicating with your legislators by phone or e-mail, remember to ask that Congress continue to support the partnership agreement between the NEA and states that allocates 40% of the agency’s funds to state and regional arts organizations. This unprecedented collaboration provided state arts agencies with $47.7 million in fiscal year 2017, and when paired with approximately $360 million in state appropriations, supported more than 23,000 grants in 16,000 communities across the United States.  In fact, combined, NEA and state arts agency grant awards reach all 435 federal congressional districts. This makes a profound impact and means that we can draw a straight line for legislators from funding for the NEA to their home districts.

For additional information and approaches to consider when meeting with policymakers, please take a look at NASAA’s NEA Fact Sheet and Five Essential Arts Arguments. For those of you coming to town next week, we look forward to seeing you. For those of you who won’t be here, rest assured that there will be many opportunities to engage your members of Congress as this process continues to unfold.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

State to State

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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