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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 28, 2015
Contact: Gregory Liakos, Communications Director, 617-858-2720

MA House Votes for Level Funding for MCC

(Boston, MA) – Last night the state House of Representatives approved a redrafted budget amendment that would freeze arts and cultural funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) at current levels for the coming year.

The House approved a so-called “consolidated amendment” to fund the MCC at $12 million for FY2016, which begins July 1. House leaders rejected an earlier amendment endorsed by nearly two-thirds of House members to boost arts and cultural funding by $3 million, to $15 million. House leaders cited concern over a current budget deficit and commitments to increase local aid, funding for schools, and other spending priorities.

MCC Executive Director Anita Walker expressed thanks to state Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord and more than 100 other Representatives who cosponsored heramendment to boost funding to $15 million. She noted that state funding for MCC remains less than half of what it was in 2001. Restoring MCC’s budget will in turn allow the agency to restore vital grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, school and youth programs. And those investments will yield returns to the state through enhanced revenues, more vital communities, and better educated students.

“Once again thousands of advocates across the state joined MASSCreative’s campaign to support our state’s creative community,” said Walker. “That effort helped us overcome another proposed cut to our funding. But we know that greater state investment is the only way to truly leverage the economic, social, and educational potential of the cultural sector. So we’ll continue to make our case as the budget process moves to the Senate.”

The House vote is one key step in the annual state budget process. The Senate Ways & Means Committee will release its own budget proposal in two weeks. Following Senate debate and vote, the two chambers must then agree on a tax and spending plan before sending it back to the Governor for final approval before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

MCC has released a new case statement on the benefits of arts and cultural funding to the state’s economy, communities, and the education of our young people – and what long-term reinvestment in its work can accomplish.

See MCC’s Advocacy Action Center for updates on the amendment and for the latest data on the nonprofit cultural sector’s contributions to the Massachusetts economy and quality of life.

About the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The MCC is a state agency supporting the arts, sciences, and humanities, to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts and its communities. It pursues its mission through grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. MCC’s total budget for this fiscal year is $13.3 million, which includes a state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.

Source: http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/news/house_budget_final_FY16.asp 

Related, from MassCreative:

MASSCreative
www.mass-creative.org
Last night, the Massachusetts House passed a budget amendment to level fund the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget at $12 million. This came after House leaders rejected an earlier amendment supported by 103 members of the House calling for $15 million in arts and cultural funding. Final approval on the House budget is expected by the end of the week.

Congratulations to arts and cultural leaders and supporters for reversing a proposed 16% cut. By securing support from a majority of the House on to Rep. Cory Atkins’ amendment, it’s clear we’re moving legislators from arts supporters to arts champions.

Yet, level funding does not provide the creative community with the increased resources it needs to build vibrant and connected communities. The State Senate will release its budget in the middle of May, and we will have another opportunity to increase the state’s investment in the creative community.

Stay tuned and get ready for our next round with the Senate in May.

Thanks again for all of your great work.

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Matt Wilson, MASSCreative
http://www.mass-creative.org/