How Governor Paterson's budget cuts will affect NY arts organizations

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 Leave a Comment

I just received an urgent email from NY ARTS organization outlining the severity of Governor Paterson's proposed budget cuts and the effect they will have on arts funding specifically. At the bottom of this post are actions we all can take to help address this issue. And for anyone who thinks one voice won't make a difference, don't forget the election we just had!

From the NY ARTS email:

The Governor's proposed cut for the arts in the current 2008-09 budget stands at $7 million.
And the total cut to the 2009-10 arts budget is almost $10 million from the start of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The Governor's proposal remains unchanged. He proposes eliminating the NYSCA funds that have not yet been awarded from the OCTOBER and DECEMBER cycles totaling $7 million. This means that almost all of the almost 600 organizations in those two cycles will not receive any funding.....including those who have general operating support pending. The inequities are staggering! This proposed reduction is the second one in this current budget (don't forget there was almost approximately a 10% reduction a couple of months ago). It will bring the NYSCA budget down to $38.9 million from $48.5 million at the start of the current fiscal year.

2009 - 10 ARTS BUDGET
The Governor's budget proposes a "$7 million dollar" cut to NYSCA in 2009-10, or $38.9 million for local assistance/grants to the field. HOWEVER, this is actually almost a $10 million cut or approximately a 20% reduction from the beginning of the current fiscal year when the budget was $48.5 million. This means that there will not be an additional cut to NYSCA if the Governor's second proposed cut is approved by the Legislature. NYSCA Operations budget is almost $5.5 million....down from $6.1 million at the beginning of the current fiscal year and down from $5.7 million after the mid-year cuts.

1) Make appointments to meet your legislators at their district offices before the first week in January. These face to face meetings really matter. Tell your story; dramatize the impact of these cuts in your district. These meetings must take place before the first week in January when the legislative session will begin. We assume the first agenda item will be the Governor's proposed cuts to the current budget.

2) Get on the NYS ARTS mailing list. NYS ARTS will mobilize an EMAIL CAMPAIGN before the Legislative Session begins to deal with the current budget reductions. When you receive the email, send it to everyone you know.

3) Go to Albany the first week in January. The arts community must be there when the session convenes to deal with the Governor's proposed cuts to the current budget. NYS ARTS will confirm dates soon.

4) Watch for NYS ARTS Advocacy Webinars in January. Gather the tips and tools you need to meet with legislators and understand the complexities of the budget issues.