NASAA Notes: April 2019

April 3, 2019

How to Get Buy-in for the NEA's FY2020 Budget

Last month, when President Trump submitted his budget proposal to Congress for fiscal year 2020, it included a recommendation to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). While this was not unexpected, it is nevertheless disappointing, particularly given the critical leadership, programming and support that continues to be developed and implemented at the arts endowment.

The obvious question for all of us as arts advocates is, how do we channel this disappointment into constructive action? At NASAA there are several factors that keep us optimistic as the FY2020 budget process ramps up. First, we continue to have an excellent working relationship with current NEA Acting Chair (and presidential nominee) Mary Anne Carter and the entire team at the NEA. Second, despite this being the third year in a row the Trump administration has called for the agency’s termination, bipartisan support appears stronger than ever. We have seen this over the last few years, as funding for the agency has increased in each of the previous two years, notwithstanding the President’s position.

While there are clearly reasons to feel optimistic as the budget process moves forward, we cannot take anything for granted. In fact, it is more important than ever that members of Congress and their staff hear from state arts agencies about why funding for the NEA is so important. Therefore, if you have not done so already, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress and make the following points:

  1. Thank them for their support of the NEA in the funding bill that passed earlier this year, increasing the agency’s budget for fiscal year 2019 by $2 million (from $153 million to $155 million).
  2. Urge that they increase funding for the agency to $167.5 million for FY2020.
  3. Remind them that due to the federal-state partnership, 40% of all NEA grant funding goes directly to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.
  4. Finally, update them on any new programming or developments at your agency, and invite the member and their staff to join you for a tour or to visit a program that you are particularly excited about.

I strongly emphasize this last point, because in asking for a larger increase this year than we have in recent budget cycles, it is especially important that we highlight all the important work that can be undertaken with an additional appropriation of this size. I am available if you have questions or concerns about how best to frame your conversation with a particular office.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

Research on Demand

More Notes from NASAA

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