New York City Arts Coalition Analyzes State Budget in Arts-Funding Terms



How will the state budget hash out in terms of state appropriations for the arts? Norma Munn, chair of the New York Arts Coalition, sent out an email late yesterday offering some hard numbers as well as some analysis.

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The legislature is supposed to vote on the state budget today. Below are the numbers for the State Council on the Arts.

$3.5 Million General use for all grants
$250,000 Stabilization funding continued

The budget for NYSCA is as follows:
State Operations $5.5 M (administrative dollars)
Aid to Localities $42,650M (grant dollars)

In addition there are still federal funds that are not completely settled as to the amount. The number in the budget is $2.8 million, some of which is stimulus money, some from regular NEA funds received annually. These funds are NOT finalized. FYI, to the greatest extent possible, which usually means entirely, these dollars are used by NYSCA for grants.

The amount of primary importance to arts groups is the $42,650 Million for grants and the stabilization funding. During the current year, the agency lost $9.8 million in budget cuts, and Governor Paterson had proposed that the agency continue at $38.9 million, a level that reflected those cuts. The legislature has rejected the Governor’s proposal by restoring $3.5 Million and re-funding the stabilization line at half the level of past years.

End result is not as bad as we were with the Governor’s budget, but still below last year’s funding level, and far below what we need and deserve.

Lastly, do not assume the Federal money is actually in NYSCA’s budget as yet. Some of it will definitely be there, but the amount is not clear, so the safe assumption is that there is $42,650 million for grants, including stabilization.

Please thank your Assembly and Senate member, and also be sure to thank the Chairs of both the Assembly and Senate arts committees. (Assemblyman Steven Englebright and Senator Jose M. Serrano). Both worked hard on this, and in view of the size of the State’s deficit, this is quite honestly a little better than I expected. (Not better than I wanted, but better than I thought might be realistic.)

It is really important to thank everyone, not just because they worked hard to get this restoration, but because I am fairly sure that we can look for Governor Paterson to propose new cuts shortly. We cannot expect the legislators to reject any new cuts if we don’t bother to even say thanks!