05/12/05

1. Arts Bill Passes Minnesota House, Senate

2. Tax Provision That Could Help Arts Passes Mnnesota House

3. Statewide Dance Meeting Tomorrow

1. Arts Bill Passes Minnesota House, Senate

The Economic Development bill, which contains arts funding, was passed by both the Minnesota House and Senate in the past week. The next step is a conference committee where they will hash out a compromise between the two bills. Both the House and Senate have recommended, as has the Governor, that the arts receive stable funding for the next two years. Members of this conference committee have not yet been appointed, so we are waiting to find out who the decision makers will be on this bill.

Unfortunately, activity in the legislature seems to be coming to a stalemate. With the Governor’s budget relying on gambling income, the House recommending two budgets, (one that relys on the gambling income and one that makes more cuts instead), and the Senate not interested in gambling but instead on increasing taxes to solve the budget, we seem no closer to resolution than we were several weeks ago.

We’ll keep you updated as we go along. Because we still have many hurdles to cross, it’s not too late to send letters in support of the arts to your legislators! You can do it today by clicking here:

If you are on MCA’s snail-mail list, you should have received a set of bright green postcards in the past week or so. Waste no time in sending them in to your legislators! Your mailing label will tell you who your legislators are, all you have to do is fill in their names, write your name, and throw on a stamp. It should be really easy. There is no time to lose!

2. Tax Provision That Could Help Arts Passes Minnesota House

A tax provision that could result in a flurry of half-cent sales tax increases in cities across the state passed the Minnesota House on Wednesday on an 80-53 bipartisan vote. The broad-ranging local sales tax option would allow virtually any community, for the first time, to seek a half-cent sales tax increase from its citizens without first obtaining specific legislative approval.

The provision specifies that any city with a population of 2500 or more, or a group of cities acting together, could increase their local sales tax by a half cents to pay for “specific regional capital projects that provide benefit to personss outside of the city boundaries…as well as to the city, and is approved by the voters” in an authorizing referendum. Among the qualifying projects listed in the provision are “regional public libraries, regional history centers, and performing arts centers.”

If also passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, this provision could provide a new revenue source for building arts facilities around the state. We will provide further information on this bill in the next week.

3. Statewide Dance Meeting Tomorrow

The McKnight Foundation is convening a meeting tomorrow at the new theater in the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis about “How can we collectively enhance and support our efforts to make dance and dance artists thrive in Minnesota? Where are we now? Where to we want to be?” It will be held Friday, May 13, from 9 am to 5:30 pm. The meeting is an outgrowth of a similar meeting last year on the same topic. Whether or not you were a part of the effort last year, you are invited to participate.

The format will be Open Space Technology, rather than on a pre-set agenda. Open Space allows the people in attendance to decide what’s most pressing and to organize discussions of only what’s most important to them. If you’d like to attend, send an email with your name to rsvp@mcknight.org, or call 612-336-3731, or check out http://www.mnartists.org/MN_Dance_Gathering. The event is free. Lunch will be provided.

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Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a non-partisan statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts. If you are interested in learning more about how to advocate for the arts, or how to activate people in your arts organization or community to lobby for the arts, please call us at 651-251-0868 or e-mail mca@mtn.org.