NASAA Notes: January 2020

January 6, 2020

Federal Arts Funding Success and Prospects

Happy new year! Everyone at NASAA is very excited about what lies ahead for us in 2020. But before looking ahead, I’d like to reflect back on the end of 2019, which turned out to be a landmark year for the National Endowment for the Arts and its support in Congress.

As is often the case, negotiations for a funding package for the federal government continued right up to the deadline. Members of the House and Senate were ultimately able to reach an agreement with President Trump on a $1.4 trillion spending package that funds all federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2020 (through September 30). Specifically for the Arts Endowment, Congress approved and the President signed legislation appropriating $162 million. This figure is an increase of $7.25 million over last year’s budget and represents the greatest one-year bump in funding for the agency in a decade. Of importance to state arts agencies, in approving the bill Congress reaffirmed its support for the federal-state partnership, which allocates 40% of all Endowment grant dollars to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations.

With that bill now completed, we expect work to begin shortly on the FY2021 funding package. NASAA is already meeting regularly with our arts advocacy partners to determine our request to Congress for the National Endowment for the Arts. The first step in the process should come on or before the President’s State of the Union Address on February 4, as that is typically when the administration delivers its budget request for Congress, initiating the appropriations cycle. While it is too early to say what funding level will be requested, we are certainly deeply appreciative of the strong bipartisan support the agency has enjoyed.

Beyond funding for the Arts Endowment, NASAA will continue to seek opportunities to expand access to the arts. Because this is an election year, not only for the presidency but for every House seat and one-third of the Senate, it is unlikely that large bills we have been monitoring, like the Higher Education Act, will get reauthorized; congressional leadership prefers to reduce members’ time in D.C. to allow for campaigning. Nonetheless, we hope that we will be able to build on last year’s success and are looking forward to working with all of you.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

The Research Digest

State to State

Announcements and Resources

Legislative Update

More Notes from NASAA

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