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Home / Blog / Advocacy / Conference Budget Testimony Submitted

Conference Budget Testimony Submitted

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Seeking to Secure $20M for the Cultural Sector in FY22

In April the state House of Representatives built the FY22 Final House Budget, and the Massachusetts Senate did the same in May. This week the two Chambers appointed a six-Member Conference Committee, tasked with drafting a final compromise budget.

Mass Cultural Council is seeking $20M in the coming fiscal year to increase grant awards and expand professional services to help stabilize our cultural sector stakeholders who face dire economic impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FY22 Final House Budget funds the Agency at $21,375,000 while the FY22 Final Senate Budget recommends $20 million…the largest proposed state investment into the sector since the late 1980s!

On June 8, Executive Director Michael J. Bobbitt submitted testimony to the FY22 Conference Committee urging them to maintain the $20 million appropriation for arts and culture through the Agency’s line item, and to follow the House’s lead by providing funding for any local earmarks added to the account.

The following testimony was submitted by Mass Cultural Council to the FY22 Budget Conference Committee:

June 8, 2021
Delivered Via Email

The Honorable Michael Rodrigues, Chair
The Honorable Cindy Friedman, Vice Chair
The Honorable Patrick O’Connor, Ranking Minority Member
Senate Committee on Ways and Means
The Honorable Aaron Michlewitz, Chair
The Honorable Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Vice Chair
The Honorable Todd Smola, Ranking Minority Member
House Committee on Ways and Means

Re: Mass Cultural Council FY22 Budget Conference Committee Testimony

Line Item 0640-0300

To the Honorable FY22 Budget Conferees:

Thank you. Mass Cultural Council recognizes the strong support and investment proposed for the Commonwealth’s cultural sector in the coming fiscal year through the Agency’s account, 0640-0300.

In March Mass Cultural Council requested a $20 million appropriation to increase grant awards and expand the reach of our professional services, which we believe will help stabilize our cultural sector stakeholders who were so devastatingly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: artists, teaching artists, and humanists/scientists; cultural nonprofits; communities; and creative youth. Both Chambers endorsed this request and recommended $20 million for the Agency’s line item in their Committee proposals. Again, thank you.

Mass Cultural Council urges the Committee to retain the requested $20 million in the Agency’s account for FY22. The Final House Budget includes several earmarks funding local cultural projects and initiatives, totaling $1,375,000. Mass Cultural Council stands ready to partner with the amendment sponsors to deliver these resources as envisioned if funding is provided. As such, we respectfully request you to follow the House’s lead and add to the bottom line to support all local earmarks retained in 0640-0300 in the FY22 Conference Budget.

Lastly, Mass Cultural Council notes the Final House and Senate Budgets include different deadlines for the Agency’s Annual Spending Plan Report filed with the Treasurer, the Secretary of Administration and Finance, and the Joint Committees on Ways & Means and Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development. The House Budget directs the Agency to submit the report by Friday, January 14, 2022, while the Senate Budget’s deadline is Monday, January 3, 2022. Mass Cultural Council is confident it can and will meet either date, however we suggest a January 14 deadline may be preferred by all, so the information is not overlooked due to the holiday season.

Mass Cultural Council proudly acknowledges that a $20 million appropriation for arts and culture in FY22 is the highest state investment made through the Agency since the late 1980s. We deeply appreciate the partnership and support shown by the House of Representatives and Senate for our work to elevate the Power of Culture across the Commonwealth.

Please do not hesitate to contact me, or Public Affairs Director Bethann Steiner, if you require additional information.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Bobbitt
Executive Director


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