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House Ways & Means FY23 Budget Proposes $22.5M for Arts & Culture

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Rep. Dylan Fernandes has sponsored Amendment #1081 to increase the Agency’s appropriation to $27.4M.

Update – April 27, 2022 – Today, during the third day of the House of Representative’s FY23 budget debate, “Consolidated Amendment E” was unanimously adopted. This consolidated amendment allowed the House to act on dozens of proposed budget amendments related to spending on Constitutional Offices, State Administration, and Transportation at once. Mass Cultural Council’s amendment, #1081, to increase the Agency’s funding to $27.4M, was included in Consolidated Amendment E, but unfortunately it was not adopted.

However, the total FY23 House Budget appropriation for arts and culture is $23,107,000. This figure represents a $2.5M increase to the Agency’s operations – $22.5M – as well as $607,000 for 11 legislative earmarks directing state funding to local cultural projects. 

Mass Cultural Council recognizes with deep thanks Rep. Dylan Fernandes and the 73 House Members who co-sponsored our Amendment, and notes with appreciation the strong investment this budget makes into arts and culture. The last time a state budget invested $21 million into the cultural sector was 1987!

At the conclusion of the House budget debate the budget building exercise advances to the Massachusetts Senate. Mass Cultural Council continues to meet with members of the Senate to build support for our $27.4M FY23 funding request, in advance of next month’s Senate budget debate. 


The Fiscal Year 2023 state budget drafting process hit another key milestone with the release of the spending recommendations from the House Committee on Ways & Means (HWM) on April 13. When outlining their proposal, House Leadership noted the $49.6B HWM budget reinvests in lower- and middle-class residents and girds the state economy for “tough times” in the future.

As an independent state agency, Mass Cultural Council is primarily funded through a line-item (0640-0300) in the annual state budget. It is through this yearly investment that the Commonwealth’s main support for the cultural sector is made.

Mass Cultural Council is extremely appreciative of House Ways & Means’ FY23 recommendation, which funds the Agency at $22.5M. This figure represents a modest increase to the Agency’s current FY22 funding level (nearly $21.4M) and is actually $2.1M higher than the Governor’s FY23 H. 2 budget recommendation:

FY22 State Budget Appropriation FY23 Gov. H. 2 Budget FY23 HWM Proposal FY23 Mass Cultural Council Funding Request
$21,375,000 $20,382,378 $22,500,000 $27,400,000

Mass Cultural Council thanks House Speaker Ron Mariano, House Ways & Means Committee Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Carole Fiola, and all our partners in the House of Representatives for helping to secure this strong recommendation. We believe this stems from a genuine enthusiasm amongst the members of the House of Representatives for the cultural sector and the work of the Agency to support it. This is a wonderful starting point for the upcoming House budget debate.

Mass Cultural Council continues to seek $27.4M in FY23, the historic high-water mark for state budget funding for arts and culture. Massachusetts last invested $27.4M into the cultural sector 34 years ago. Given the urgent and ongoing recovery needs of artists, cultural sector workers, cultural organizations, and creative communities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the robust revenue collections in Massachusetts, we believe this is the year to once again match the state’s strongest support of the sector, back in 1988.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported in March 2022 that the arts and culture sector contributed $23.7B to the Commonwealth’s economy in 2020 – a pandemic year – representing 4.1% of the state’s GDP and 125,091 jobs. Imagine the economic impact of a fully functioning and flourishing cultural sector across Massachusetts, bolstered by a state investment of $27.4M into Mass Cultural Council – which would support millions of dollars in grant-making to artists, cultural sector workers, cultural organizations, youth arts programs, and communities in every city and town.

What’s next?

Rep. Dylan Fernandes, the House Vice Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development has sponsored Amendment #1081 to increase Mass Cultural Council’s appropriation by $4.9M, from $22.5M to $27.4M.

Mass Cultural Council is joined by our partner organizations, MASSCreative and Mass Humanities, in thanking Vice Chair Fernandes for his leadership and support.

House Members will begin their FY23 budget debate the week of April 25. When the House concludes its work, the FY23 budget will move to the state Senate. The Senate budget debate traditionally takes place in late May each year.

Fiscal Year 2023 runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

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