You Can Help Arts Funding and Building Projects

3/21/02

1. Arts Funding

The legislature has already cut the arts by 4%. The 4% cut was included in the “first phase” of the deficit reduction package. They are now working on the “second phase.” Although the House today debated a bill generated by Rep. Phil Krinkie’s committee that would cut arts funding by an additional 3%, there is increasing discussion in the halls of the Capitol that the second phase of deficit reductions will happen as the first phase did – as a deal made by leadership — and not in a conference committee. This situation makes it harder for us to target specific legislators for calls. In contrast to the additional 3% cut in the House’s bill, the Senate’s deficit reduction package at this point contains no further cuts to the arts. Of course, we prefer the Senate’s position. Arts funding reaches every county in Minnesota through the grants and programs of the Minnesota State Arts Board and eleven Regional Arts Councils.

2. Bonding

Today the Conference Committee on the Bonding Bill will meet for the first time. You may recall that the Senate’s bonding bill contained at least partial funding for all of the arts projects, while the House’s bonding bill contained pretty much no money for arts projects. This group of people: Senators Langseth, Samuelson, Wiener, Cohen and C. Larson, Representatives Knoblach, Bishop, McElroy, J. Clark, and Osthoff, will now choose which projects are funded and which ones are not. Their decisions may be made in a few days. Even if you or your arts organization don’t have a project at the capitol this year, it is in all of our interest to have as many of the arts projects funded as possible, to make it easier for those that follow. We need to show our unity by supporting all of the arts projects. In addition, there is a possibility that some of the arts projects may be vetoed when they reach the Governor. So, watch for future alerts about veto overrides. For now, you can help both arts funding and the bonding projects by calling your own legislators with the following message: “Please support the Senate position on the arts, which is no additional cuts. In addition, please fund all of the arts bonding projects.” If you don’t know who your legislators are or how to contact them, just give us a call and we’ll get the information for you. You should know that right now, emails may NOT be the most effective way to reach your legislator because they are getting hundreds of emails a day. The best thing to do is pick up the phone and give them a call.