NASAA Notes: June 2021

June 2, 2021

Support Administration's Request for NEA Budget Increase

Late on May 28, the Biden administration released its first budget request to Congress regarding funding levels and priorities for fiscal year 2022. While not binding, the President’s budget request (particularly any administration’s first) is a critical document, as it articulates the newly inaugurated President’s goals and objectives. For example, the Trump administration’s decision to recommend eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in its first budget request in 2017 set the tone for the next four years, as NASAA and our partner organizations had to work closely with our champions in Congress to push back against that proposal. Perhaps because of the Trump administration’s posture toward the NEA (at least in terms of its budget requests), the Biden administration’s request was widely anticipated to help us understand the goals of the administration with regards to arts policy.

As we noted in a Legislative Alert to our members and colleagues, the Biden administration made a strong statement of support for the Arts Endowment and the arts generally in its FY2022 request, calling for the agency’s funding level to be increased from $167.5 million to $201 million. If implemented, the proposed increase of $33.5 million far surpasses any increase the agency has received in recent years. In calling for the enhancement, the Biden administration urges the Endowment to “incorporate principles” of racial justice and equity in its programming and encourages continued participation in the Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network. Also of interest, the request calls for increasing funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities to $177.5 million and an increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services to $265 million.

We are thrilled and deeply appreciative of the Biden administration’s recognition of the significant value that comes from robust federal investment in the arts. With the document now released, the focus turns to Congress. It is incumbent upon us as arts advocates to encourage Congress to follow the administration’s lead and increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. As valued partners, state arts agencies can play a critical role in this campaign. Therefore, when Congress returns to session next week, I strongly encourage you to contact members of your congressional delegation, particularly if you are represented by a member of either the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, and urge the following:

  • Support the President’s budget request, which would raise the NEA’s budget by $33.5 million.
  • Highlight the federal-state partnership, which allocates 40% of the NEA’s grant funding to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations, and encourage Congress to continue to support the formula.
  • Use this moment to update your delegation about activities at your agency, and ways your programming could be enhanced with the additional federal funding proposed by the Biden administration.

I encourage you to contact your member of Congress right away, regardless of committee assignment, to raise awareness and support for this proposal. This is an exciting moment for the Endowment and us who support it. It is now critical that we make the case to Congress about why acting on this recommendation is so important.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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