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Governor’s FY24 Budget Invests a Record $25M into Arts & Culture

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

This represents an 11% increase to Mass Cultural Council’s current operating budget

Governor Maura Healey unveiled the first state budget proposal of her term on March 1, and upon review we are thrilled to note that Mass Cultural Council and the Commonwealth’s creative and cultural sector have a lot to be excited about!

H. 1, the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 $55.5 billion spending plan invests a record $25 million into arts and culture through Mass Cultural Council’s line-item.

This is the highest funding amount Mass Cultural Council has ever received in a Governor’s budget and represents a 11% increase to the Agency’s current operating budget, which supports grant programs and services for Massachusetts artists, creatives, cultural organizations, and communities.

Since January, the Healey/Driscoll Administration has consistently signaled its intention to uplift, support, and engage with the cultural sector, and H. 1 shows that the Governor means what she says. Mass Cultural Council is thrilled with this funding recommendation and is deeply appreciative of the Governor for her support and partnership.

This recommendation is critical, as Mass Cultural Council, an independent state agency, receives most of its funding through the annual state budget, and it is through this yearly exercise that the state makes its primary investment into the creative and cultural sector. Once the budget is signed into law, our governing Council approves the Agency’s Spending Plan, and staff is able to launch Mass Cultural Council’s programs and services for the year.

What Happens Next?

The months-long FY24 state budget-building process now moves to the state Legislature. It is expected that the House and Senate Committees on Ways & Means will soon convene hearings on the Governor’s budget, during which state agencies, including Mass Cultural Council, will be asked to speak and reflect on the Governor’s recommendations.

Our message to the Legislature is thankful and positive. H. 1 is a major investment into arts and culture and represents more funding than the Agency has today. We will urge our partners on Beacon Hill to embrace the Governor’s $25 million recommendation as they develop their spending plans.

After the hearings, the state House of Representatives releases their budget and debates it in April, followed by a similar process by the Massachusetts Senate in May. Any differences between the House and Senate budgets are negotiated and finalized by a Conference Committee, after which the House and Senate will be asked to adopt the FY24 Conference Budget Report and send it to the Governor for her approval.

Stakeholders of the Massachusetts creative and cultural sector will have opportunities to engage at every step of the budget process. Our advocacy partners, MASSCreative and Mass Humanities, often host action alerts for their members to connect with the Administration and state legislators at key points in the process. In fact, those who wish to say ‘thank you’ to Governor Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll can use MASSCreative’s action tool to do so!

We recognize that MASSCreative’s long-term budget campaign seeks a $5 per capita investment into arts and culture – or $35 million a year – in the state budget, and are mindful that it will likely take a number of budget cycles to achieve this major increase to the Agency’s funding. And yet, today we have cause for celebration as the Governor’s $25 million funding recommendation is a major step forward towards that visionary goal.

Mass Cultural Council will engage in and track the FY24 budget process and provide timely updates until the spending plan is signed into law. Massachusetts Fiscal Year 2024 runs from July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024.

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