Power of Culture Blog
New legislation would create a $200M COVID-19 relief and stabilization fund using federal funds.
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Just seven weeks after signing the FY21 General Appropriations Act (the annual state operating budget bill) into law, Governor Charlie Baker today kick started the FY22 state budget-building process by releasing his spending recommendations, known on Beacon Hill as “H.1.”
Consistent with his original and revised FY21 spending recommendations, H.1 proposes funding Mass Cultural Council with $16,298,039. Mass Cultural Council appreciates Governor Baker’s steadfast support for investing $16.3M into the cultural sector, however this recommendation would trigger a 10.4% reduction in state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences from the Agency’s $18.2M FY21 state budget appropriation.
As in past years, Mass Cultural Council is working with our governing Council, advocacy partners, and legislative champions to develop and finalize a funding request for FY22. In the coming months we will launch an education and advocacy campaign to ensure that Mass Cultural Council is adequately funded by the House of Representatives and Senate in the coming fiscal year.
We view H.1 as a starting point for this conversation, and again acknowledge the staggering economic devastation the cultural sector is facing, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Commonwealth’s primary investment into the cultural sector is made each year via the Agency’s operating line item in the state budget. If Mass Cultural Council were to be funded at the Governor’s recommendation, $16.3 million, this would mean fewer successful grant applications and/or smaller funding awards for arts and cultural organizations in FY22. It would also result in fewer opportunities for our staff to provide core government services to creative practitioners and cultural nonprofits. Funding the Agency at the Governor’s number would result in dramatic cuts across the board for all Mass Cultural Council programs, services, and operations in FY22.
Fiscal Year 2022 begins July 1, 2021 and ends June 30, 2022. Traditionally, the budget-building process stretches throughout the first half of the calendar year, with the House debating in April and the Senate debate following in May. However, residents do not need a special reason to get in touch with their elected officials.
If state investment in the arts, humanities, and sciences is important to you, take a minute to email your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to make Mass Cultural Council’s FY22 appropriation a priority. Explain that the Governor’s proposed cut to the Agency is not something you wish for them to support and ask that they work with Leadership to ensure Mass Cultural Council is, at minimum, level funded in FY22. Make sure to include a personal note highlighting why culture is important in your life.