The U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies has just approved a spending bill that includes cuts to valuable federal arts programs. The proposal, which allocates federal dollars for the upcoming 2015 fiscal year, would cut $8 million from the National Endowment for the Arts and an equal amount from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This is a decrease of roughly five percent from current funding levels.
Last year, the same panel proposed slashing the NEA's budget by 49 percent. This year's proposal is a clear improvement. Funding cuts and inflation, however, already have substantially eroded federal support for nonprofit community arts programs in recent years.
"We recognize that budgets are tight, and clearly this year's proposal is far superior to the one approved by the subcommittee last year," said Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition. "We applaud Chairman Calvert and the members of the subcommittee for maintaining funding in these challenging fiscal times. At the same time, we are concerned about the steady erosion of vital arts funding. The federal government's own data show the enormous impact that the arts and culture sectors have on our economy, and federal support is shockingly low considering the millions of jobs that depend on a healthy arts sector in the U.S."
The bill approved today now heads to the full House Appropriations Committee for further consideration. There, amendments could be offered to shore up or cut even deeper into the NEA's budget.
Please take a moment to contact your Representative. Let Congress know what the arts mean in your community and that you strongly support funding for the National Endowment for the Arts: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/