Power of Culture Blog
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Update – April 27, 2023: The Massachusetts House of Representatives completed its FY24 budget debate on April 26. The Final FY24 House Budget invests $25,895,000 into the creative and cultural sector through Mass Cultural Council’s line-item (0640-0300). This amount reflects a 11% increase to the Agency’s existing operating budget ($25M in the coming fiscal year), as well as $895,000 to support 16 legislative earmarks, funds secured by Representatives during the amendment process intended to support specific priority projects or organizations in their districts.
Mass Cultural Council is very pleased with this level of support in the Final FY24 House Budget and appreciates the partnership of the House of Representatives. The FY24 budget process now moves to the Massachusetts Senate, who will hold a budget debate in May. FY24 begins on July 1, 2023.
Mass Cultural Council testified on March 31 in support of Governor Healey’s $25 million budget recommendation for the Agency, and asked the Committee to retain this level of funding in their FY24 budget. Additionally, Mass Cultural Council requested the Committee to update the text of the Agency’s line-item so that it reflected the goals of our new strategic plan.
It is with immense gratitude that Mass Cultural Council reports that the FY24 House Ways & Means budget invests $25 million into arts and culture through the Agency’s line-item and embraces the new Strategic Plan wording as well:
For the services and operations of the Massachusetts cultural council, including grants to or contracts with public and nonpublic entities….provided further, that the council shall expend from any source an amount not less than 75 per cent of this item on grants and subsidies to further the achievement of the goals of the council’s 3-year strategic plan, including: (i) stewarding programmatic practices that advance equity, diversity and inclusion; (ii) advancing the creative and cultural sector through building partnerships, identifying recommendations and storytelling; and (iii) ensuring internal systems, structures and ways of working reflect the council’s values of creativity, public service and inclusion and advance the sector’s needs…….$25,000,000
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 represents an 11% increase in the Agency’s current operating budget and 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, the 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 last month shows that the arts and culture sector was a $27.2 billion industry in Massachusetts in 2021 – this represents 4.2% of the Commonwealth’s GDP, and 135,181 jobs statewide.
Mass Cultural Council is deeply appreciative of the support received today from the House, and in particular wishes to thank Speaker Ron Mariano, Ways & Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Mindy Domb 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.
Cultural sector stakeholders are encouraged to send a quick note of thanks to their State Representative, so they know this investment into arts and culture is important to their constituents.
The House of Representatives is scheduled to hold its FY24 budget debate the week of April 24. At the conclusion of this debate the budget advances to the Massachusetts Senate, who does its budget work in May. Differences between the House and Senate Budgets are 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.