By: The Louisiana Partnership for the Arts
Legislators will return to the capitol TODAY, Monday, June 21 for a special session in which they discuss HB 76, an amendment to the budget to provide ancillary funding for expenses. We have been told that this could be a way to get funding back.
AT PRESENT WE ARE NOT IN THIS AMENDMENT.
However, we have word that members of the Senate Finance Committee are working toward providing additional funds for the arts.
Send a message RIGHT NOW to your legislators and DEMAND that they:
1. RESTORE $750,000 TO DECENTRALIZED.
2. RESTORE $600,000 TO STATEWIDE ARTS GRANTS THAT HAD BEEN CUT BY THE HOUSE.
3. RESTORE AN ADDITIONAL $750,000 TO STATEWIDE ARTS GRANTS TO OFFSET THE DEEP CUTS IN THE EXECUTIVE BUDGET.
Ask them to do what’s right for their constituents. This is our last chance. The budget session closes TODAY, Monday, June 21 at 6pm.
At that time the budget goes back to the Governor, who may still exercise his veto power — another potential way to lose funding.
Arts funding was also heavily impacted by mid-year cuts in the current fiscal year, further reducing available resources.
These are tough times: Our coast and waters are fouled with oil and we are fearful about moratoriums and the economic impact this will have.
This is not an either/or decision. This is not about livelihoods versus museums. The funding we are seeking amounts to a total of $4 million — less than the cost of building one mile of single-lane highway! Think about it: do we really value the cultural treasures of our state that little?
The Cultural Economy is a great revenue source for our state, returning more than $7 to the tax base for every $1 allotted from the legislature. This is an important investment in the future of Louisiana.
Our extraordinarily rich culture is — now more than ever — the NUMBER ONE REASON why people will travel to Louisiana. So, let’s not cripple tourism even more than this oil spill disaster already has.
And let us not forget: it was art and culture that brought New Orleans back from the rom the brink after Katrina. It is in the ability of the arts to reflect on what happened, to calm, heal, and inspire that we can see a brighter future again. The arts have the power to generate hope, see us through tough times, and give brief respite from the challenges we face.