April 11, 2001
Arts Funding Under Siege:
House Chair proposes cuts at time of increased arts needs across the state
There are two serious problems facing arts funding in Minnesota:
Problem #1: Rep. Phil Krinkie, chair of the State Government Finance Committee in the House, has introduced a bill which would cut the arts appropriation by 42% from approximately $13 million per year to approximately $7.6 million per year for the next two years. Any cut in the arts appropriation is uncalled for in this time of budget surpluses. There is absolutely no justification for this proposal.
Problem #2: Across the state there is an increased demand for arts services and activities as more and more areas see the importance of providing access to arts and culture to all of their citizens. However, state arts funding has remained stagnant now for the past four years, and grants are shrinking due to growth of field and increased needs across the state. We certainly don’t need a cut in arts funding, we need an increase!
As of this writing, we are not sure of the outcome of this legislative session. We are in close consultation with arts heroes Rep. Jim Rhodes and Sen. Richard Cohen.
Although it has been difficult to know where we stand until now, we do know that the serious appropriations work is scheduled to begin after the legislature’s Easter break. It is imperative that arts supporters give their legislators a call and ask them to support increased arts funding immediately.