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Take Action to Support the Arts and Education During the June 2013 State Budget Debate

On Monday, June 3, the House Appropriations Committee passed the House Republicans’ 2013-2014 budget bill.  Budget debate is now set to begin on the House floor next week.

 

At this critical time in the discussion, we ask all of Pennsylvania’s arts and education supporters to contact their legislators and urge action on the following items from the Pennsylvania Arts Education Network’s Policy Agenda that support the arts and education in Pennsylvania:

 

1. Provide state financial support to help reestablish the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts so that Pennsylvania students have equitable access to this exceptional program.


2. Restore at least one full-time Fine Arts and Humanities Advisor in the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
 This position has been vacant for more than two years, but is necessary to provide support and professional development and technical assistance to educators across the state and to colleagues within the PDE.

3. The General Assembly must begin in the 2013-2014 state budget to restore the nearly $900 million dollars of state funding to school districts that was cut during the past two years, and develop a multi-year plan and commitment to restore all of the cuts and assure a system of equitable, adequate, accountable, and predictable funding to support all of Pennsylvania’s students.
  Because Pennsylvania school districts began each of the past two school years with nearly one billion dollars less than in 2010, arts programs for students have suffered some of the greatest cutbacks in both financially struggling and wealthier school districts, with tens of thousands of students having their arts education programs diminished, and more threatened for 2013-2014 and beyond.

Legislators can also support the arts in Pennsylvania by supporting the following items from Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania’s Policy Agenda for FY 13-14:    


1. Pass a budget that includes $8.179 million for grants to the arts and $913,000 for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Arts and culture provides Pennsylvania with a great return on investment. The Commonwealth spends 71 cents per person on the arts and, in return:
  • Supports 81,000 full-time equivalent jobs all over Pennsylvania
  • Pumps over $2.5 billion dollars in spending into Pennsylvania’s economy annually
  • Generates $360 million in local and state tax revenues

Funding for the arts has already been trimmed to the bone. Over the last six years, the PCA budget has been reduced by 47%.

The PCA funds programs and organizations in all 67 counties. These programs provide educational opportunities for young and old and also make arts and culture more accessible to all Pennsylvanians.

2. Pass a budget that includes $18.474 million for general government operations for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museums Commission (PHMC) and restore funding to the level of $9.6 million for general operations support grants through PHMC for organizations that do not receive general operating support grants from other state agencies (i.e. PCA, DCED, DCNR, etc.).

3. Restore funding to the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for Tourism Marketing for Accredited Zoos.

4. Tax Credit Programs:

  • The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) continues to include arts and culture as part of the Educational Improvement Organizations and continues to be funded at $100 million.
  • Uncap the Film Production Tax Credit Program (FPTC).  
    • According to a 2012 report done by DCED on the Film Production Tax Credit, the FPTC has been responsible for the creation of 18,000 jobs and has generated $2.7 in economic activity since 2007.
    • With the cap set at $60 million, available tax credits are exhausted by early fall which results in the loss of film production in Pennsylvania to states such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana, and Georgia all of which have no caps on their film tax credit programs. Pennsylvania recently lost a David O. Russell film (director of Silver Linings Playbook) to Massachusetts because there were no tax credits available.

5. Continue to provide funding for the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) and continue to include assistance to arts and cultural organizations for “shovel ready” projects.

Learn who your state legislators are, and how you can contact them, here

Please feel free to share this information with your own network of colleagues, members, and friends.

Thank you for all of your efforts to support arts and arts education in Pennsylvania.  If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.

Erin Gough
Coordinator, Pennsylvania Arts Education Network
www.artseducationpa.org
gough@eplc.org 717-260-9900