Power of Culture Blog
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Senate Committee on Ways & Means embraces Mass Cultural Council’s FY24 funding request
Update – May 24, 2023: Today is day 2 of the Senate’s FY24 budget debate, however, the matters of relevance to Mass Cultural Council’s line-item have been acted upon. The Agency is thankful to the Senate for adopting a redrafted version of Amendment 289, which updated the text of our account to reflect the new planning goals of our strategic plan that will launch on July 1. Fourteen Senators, or 35% of the Chamber membership, sponsored our proposal and ensured that it was successful. Thank you to Chair Paul Mark and Senators Oliveria, Gomez, O’Connor, Gobi, Eldridge, Moran, Payano, Kennedy, Feeney, Rausch, Cyr, Timilty, and Pacheco for sponsoring Amendment 289. Additionally, three amendments were filed by Senators seeking to earmark funds within the Agency’s account for a local project or cultural organization. These three amendments (273, 338, and 690) were not adopted or were withdrawn from consideration. This means that when the Senate completes its FY24 budget debate this week Mass Cultural Council should have a $25M appropriation and the desired text change we sought through Amendment 289. We are deeply grateful to the Massachusetts Senate for this public investment into the creative and cultural sector. When the FY24 Budget Conference Committee is appointed to finalize the FY24 budget Mass Cultural Council will urge the conferees to retain the $25M appropriation, the updated strategic planning goals, and fund any earmarks from the final House budget that are advanced in the conference budget.
Update – May 16, 2023: Mass Cultural Council is working with Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chairman Paul Mark on a Senate budget amendment to change the text of the Agency’s line-item. Amendment #289 strikes wording that references the Agency’s former strategic plan and replaces it with the goals of our new strategic slan, which will be in effect FY24-26. This technical correction, if adopted, would ensure that Mass Cultural Council’s line-item text in the final Senate Budget matches language in the final House Budget. If it is not adopted, Mass Cultural Council will work during the Conference Committee process to advance the House text to the Governor’s desk. Thank you, Chairman Mark, for your leadership and partnership in this matter!
The work to develop the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget continues on Beacon Hill, and this month it’s the Massachusetts Senate who will take up the spending plan.
On May 9 the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released S. 3, its FY24 spending recommendations, a $55.8 billion budget focused on moving Massachusetts forward towards a more inclusive and resilient post-pandemic future.
Mass Cultural Council is thrilled to report that the Committee looked favorably upon the Agency’s FY24 funding request and recommended the requested $25 million. This figure represents an 11% increase to Mass Cultural Council’s current operating budget, and is the amount the Agency requested when it testified on Governor Healey’s H. 1 budget recommendations in March.
Mass Cultural Council, an independent state arts agency, is primarily funded through the annual state budget, and it is through this spending plan that the Commonwealth makes its main investment supporting the creative and cultural sector each year. This $25 million appropriation is a historic public investment in the sector.
If signed into law, this $25 million would be the highest state budget appropriation Mass Cultural Council has received since the late 1980s. If approved, Mass Cultural Council will have additional resources to make equitable investments supporting Massachusetts artists, creative individuals, youth arts education programs, cultural organizations, and communities.
We think this is a sound public investment in a key economic sector in the Commonwealth. Mass Cultural Council believes that arts and culture are essential – not only for economic prosperity, but for innovation, creativity, and good health. We know the sector is vibrant and strong and helps support a strong state economy in Massachusetts.
In fact, new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in March shows that the arts and culture sector was a $27.2 billion industry in Massachusetts in 2021 – making up 4.2% of the Commonwealth’s GDP, and supporting 135,181 jobs statewide.
Mass Cultural Council is deeply appreciative of the support received today from the Senate, and in particular wishes to thank Senate President Karen Spilka, Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, and Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Paul Mark for their leadership. We know their partnership played a large role in securing this funding recommendation today. Thank you for your steadfast support in our work and the Massachusetts creative and cultural sector!
Mass Cultural Council also acknowledges the work of our statewide advocacy and programmatic partners, MASSCreative and Mass Humanities, who help spread awareness of the impact and build support for the sector on Beacon Hill.
The Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to hold its FY24 budget debate the week of May 22. Differences between the final House and Senate Budgets will then be negotiated by a Conference Committee. Once a final budget is enacted and sent to the Governor to be signed into law, Mass Cultural Council will prepare a FY24 spending plan based on its FY24 state budget appropriation for the approval of the governing Council in August. The Council’s approval then allows the Agency to launch programs and initiatives in FY24.
Fiscal Year 2024 begins on July 1, 2023 and runs through June 30, 2024.