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Senate Ways & Means FY23 Budget Invests $22M into Cultural Sector

Bethann Steiner, Public Affairs Director

Senator Ed Kennedy has filed Amendment #135 to increase Mass Cultural Council’s account to $27.4M

Update – May 24, 2022: Today, during the Massachusetts Senate’s FY23 budget debate, “No Bundle 1” was adopted. This bundle allowed the Senate to act on dozens of proposed budget amendments at once. Mass Cultural Council’s amendment, #135, to increase the Agency’s funding to $27.4M, was included in “No Bundle 1”, which unfortunately means the proposal was rejected and will not be in the final FY23 Senate Budget.  

Mass Cultural Council recognizes the leadership of Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Senator Ed Kennedy and his 21 colleagues who co-sponsored our Amendment. We note with deep appreciation that 55% of the Senate Membership went on record to support our funding request for the cultural sector and we cherish their partnership.   

After the Senate completes its budget debate a Conference Committee will be appointed by House and Senate Leadership. This 6-person panel will be charged with reconciling any differences between the House and Senate Budgets. Mass Cultural Council will review the two budgets and continue to engage in this process by urging the Conferees to retain the highest funding available for the cultural sector. As of today, the House FY23 Budget provides a $2.5 million increase for Mass Cultural Council programming, while the Senate budget provides $2 million more for programming.


The budget building exercise for Fiscal Year 2023 continues on Beacon Hill, as the Senate Committee on Ways & Means unveiled its $49.68B FY23 spending plan for the Commonwealth on May 10.

Mass Cultural Council notes with appreciation that the Senate Committee recommends funding arts and culture, through the Agency’s line item (0640-0300) at $22 million in the coming fiscal year, and wishes to thank the Senate’s Leadership, especially Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, and Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development Chair Ed Kennedy for their ongoing support of the Massachusetts cultural sector.

The chart below illustrates where we stand so far in the FY23 budget process. Mass Cultural Council is requesting $27.4M in FY23, a figure that represents the state’s highest level of budget funding ever for the cultural sector, which was secured 34 years ago…in 1988. Because we are mindful of the $2 billion in surplus tax revenues collected by the state in April and the demonstrated ongoing economic hardships experienced across the cultural sector linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe the time is right to chart a path towards securing this record level of state investment into the sector again.

FY22 State Budget Appropriation Gov. FY23 H. 2 Budget FY23 House Ways & Means Proposal Final FY23 House Budget FY23 Senate Ways & Means Proposal Mass Cultural Council FY23 Funding Request
$21,375,000 $20,382,378 $22,500,000 $23,107,000 $22,000,000 $27,400,000

Mass Cultural Council is working with Senator Ed Kennedy, a staunch cultural sector supporter, to increase the Agency’s FY23 appropriation in the Senate budget. He has filed Amendment #135 to increase Mass Cultural Council’s account to $27.4 million. We are deeply thankful to the Chairman for his ongoing support and partnership, and for his leadership.

Next Steps

Senators have until May 13 to file budget amendments. During the week of May 16 Mass Cultural Council and our partners MASSCreative and Mass Humanities will work with Senator Kennedy to build support and secure co-sponsors for his Amendment #135. The FY23 Senate budget debate will take place the week of May 23.

Once the Senate completes its budget debate, a conference committee will be appointed to finalize any differences between the final House and Senate FY23 Budgets. That conference budget report must be approved by both Chambers before it can be sent to the Governor, who has ten days to review and act on it.

Fiscal Year 2023 starts on July 1, 2022.

I support arts and culture, what can I do?

Starting May 16, cultural sector stakeholders are encouraged to email their State Senator to urge them to support and co-sponsor Senator Kennedy’s Amendment #135 to increase Mass Cultural Council’s FY23 appropriation to $27.4M.

Those who wish can use MASSCreative’s one-click engagement tool to send this important message to their Senator.

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