Power of Culture Blog
Mass Cultural Council is seeking to secure $20M for the cultural sector in FY22.
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Updated 4/29/21: Last night the state House of Representatives completed its FY22 budget debate and approved a $47.4B spending plan for the coming fiscal year. As outlined below, Mass Cultural Council’s FY22 $20M spending request was included in the House Ways & Means Committee budget, so the Agency was not seeking any amendments during the House debate. A handful of budget amendments were filed by House Members seeking to earmark support for specific local cultural projects or organizations from our line item account, and we monitored the progress of those proposals. Nine amendments were adopted during the course of the budget debate, and you can see that new language in the bolded text below. Ultimately, the House FY22 Final Budget funds Mass Cultural Council at $21,375,000. The last time arts and culture was funded at more than $20M in the state budget was THREE DECADES AGO, in Fiscal Years 1987 ($23.5M), 1988 ($27.4M), and 1989 ($25.1M).
Securing this level of funding in the House budget is a major endorsement of Mass Cultural Council, our work, the importance of the cultural sector, and recognition of the economic impacts of the pandemic that the Agency has been documenting for more than a year. Mass Cultural Council is so thankful to the House, especially Speaker Ron Mariano, Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and TACD Chair Carole Fiola for their leadership in securing this robust public investment to help us stabilize the cultural sector, which has been economically devastated this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FY22 budget process now heads to the Massachusetts Senate, which typically debates their spending plan in May. FY22 begins on July 1, 2021.
Here is the text of Mass Cultural Council’s line item account as approved in the FY22 House Final Budget (language added by amendment is bolded):
0640-0300 For the services and operations of the Massachusetts cultural council, including grants to or contracts with public and non-public entities; provided, that the council may expend the amounts appropriated in this item for the council as provided under sections 52 to 58, inclusive, of chapter 10 of the General Laws; provided further, that 25 per cent of the amount appropriated in this item shall be transferred quarterly from the State Lottery and Gaming Fund, established in section 35 of chapter 10 of the General Laws, to the General Fund; provided further, that a person employed under this item shall be considered an employee within the meaning of section 1 of chapter 150E of the General Laws and shall be placed in the appropriate bargaining unit; provided further, that not less than $50,000 shall be expended to the Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition (GMAACC) Inc. for the establishment of an Asian community center in the city of Malden; provided further, that not less than $25,000 shall be expended for the Hanover cultural council, in the town of Hanover, for the planning and assistance of Hanover Day; provided further, that not less than $25,000 shall be expended for building refurbishments for the Albion Cultural Exchange to ensure accessibility to second-floor artist lofts in Wakefield; provided further, that not less than $25,000 shall be expended for the Lowell Festival Foundation, in the city of Lowell, to promote the cultural life of the people of Greater Lowell; provided further, that not less than $50,000 shall be expended for events for greater Boston’s recording, performing and visual artists of color through the Boston Art and Music Soul Festival; provided further, that not less than $50,000 shall be expended for an Artists Community Assistance program to be administered by the Allston Village Main Streets, Inc. of Boston; provided further, that not less than $100,000 shall be expended to the city known as the town of Weymouth to be used for the Weymouth 400 commemoration; provided further, that not less than $1,000,000 shall be expended for entities that focus on 1 or more Asian ethnicity and conduct cultural events, cultural education or cultural performances, with these funds being prioritized to entities who have been adversely affected by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic; provided further, that not less than $50,000 shall be expended for improvements at Cogswell ArtSpace in the city of Haverhill to convert the former Cogswell school into a community art center; provided further, that the council shall expend from any source an amount not less than 75 per cent of the amount of this item on grants and subsidies to further the achievement of the goals of the council’s 5 year strategic plan, including: (a) amplifying cultural vitality in cities and towns through integrated community-focused grants and initiatives; (b) enhancing the commonwealth’s economic vitality by helping nonprofit cultural organizations, artists and other participants in the cultural tourism sector to thrive; (c) enhancing creative learning experiences in schools and communities that instill agency in, and support the growth of, creative, productive, independent-minded young people; (d) strengthening the council’s capacity to fulfill its mission and deliver the highest quality services to constituents; and (e) promoting more diverse and inclusive participation in the cultural sector by ensuring equity in policies, practices and opportunities; and provided further, that not later than January 14 2022, the council shall submit its board-approved fiscal year 2022 spending plan to the state treasurer, the secretary of administration and finance, the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on tourism, arts and cultural development, including, but not limited to, the amounts to be expended on: (i) grants and subsidies; (ii) personnel; (iii) leases and utilities; and (d) travel, delineated by in-state and board-approved out-of-state travel……………….. $21,375,000
The House Committee on Ways & Means released its FY22 Budget Proposal, recommending funding the arts and culture with $20 million in the coming fiscal year through Mass Cultural Council.
Simply put, we can only say THANK YOU to Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Carole Fiola, and all the House Members who support the power of culture and embraced our request to support the Agency’s programming and services with an investment of $20 million in FY22. Today’s investment by the House Ways & Means Committee represents the highest level of funding proposed for Mass Cultural Council, and by extension, the cultural sector, by the state in decades. It is cause for celebration and gratitude, and an acknowledgement of the important role the cultural sector will play as we move towards economic recovery post-COVID.
The House Ways & Means FY22 budget recommendation for the Agency is $3.7 million higher than Governor Baker’s H. 1 recommendation, which proposed reducing Mass Cultural Council’s funding by 10.4%. Mass Cultural Council’s current (FY21) state appropriation is $18.2 million.
Each year the Commonwealth’s major investment into the cultural sector is made through Mass Cultural Council during the annual state budget process. To alleviate the devastating economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the cultural sector, the Agency recently unveiled the Power of Culture Advocacy Campaign, which calls for robust public investments made in 2021-2022 through budget spending, bond authorizations, and bills to stabilize, rebuild, and provide COVID relief to the cultural sector. Today’s recommendation by the House Committee on Ways & Means is a major endorsement of our campaign. Thank you!
House Members have until Friday, April 16 to file their budget amendments. However, as the Committee approved our funding request, the Mass Cultural Council is not seeking any amendments during the House budget process. The House FY22 budget debate will take place during the week of April 26. When the House completes its debate, the budget will move to the Massachusetts Senate, which typically debates their budget in late May. Any differences between the House and Senate budgets must be resolved by a conference committee before a final budget can go to the Governor. Fiscal Year 22 begins on July 1, 2021.
Now is the time to email your State Representative and thank them for prioritizing Mass Cultural Council and making a strong investment into the cultural sector in the FY22 House budget. MASSCreative has created an action alert you can use to thank them.