(Boston, MA) – A majority of the state House of Representatives has endorsed a budget amendment for the coming fiscal year that would increase arts and cultural funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) to $17 million. That would represent an increase of $3 million, or 21 percent, from current funding levels.
Close to 100 members of the House who signed onto Amendment #344 to the FY17 state budget are trying to reverse a large, proposed cut to MCC funding contained in a House Ways & Means Committee plan released last week. Co-Sponsors include legislators from communities across the state, Democrat and Republican. The full House is scheduled to begin debate on the budget Monday. After the House completes its work, the budget process moves to the Senate. The new fiscal year begins July 1.
“Thanks to all the advocates who have joined MASSCreative’s campaign to restore funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “This is a key phase of the budget process in which we must show the House leadership that there is strong, statewide support for the incredible work that we do every day to make our Commonwealth a better place.”
Leading the effort are House members of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, chaired by Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord, and the Cultural Caucus, headed by Joint Committee Vice Chair Rep. Smitty Pignatelli of Lenox. Several House leaders have also signed on, including chairs of committees that oversee K-12 education, community development, and labor and workforce development.
“We are so grateful to all of the legislators who have signed on to reverse these proposed cuts,” Walker said. “We are hopeful House leaders will consider this broad, bipartisan support for the arts, humanities, and sciences, when they make what we know are difficult budget decisions.”
See MCC’s Advocacy Action Center for updates on the budget process 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 a combination of grants, services, and advocacy for nonprofit cultural organizations, schools, communities, and artists. The MCC’s total budget for this fiscal year is $15.7 million, which includes a $14 million state appropriation and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The MCC also runs the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund in partnership with MassDevelopment.