House Committee Proposes Deep Cuts to Funding for Arts, Humanities & Sciences in Budget Plan

by | Apr 15, 2016

(Boston, MA) – The House Committee on Ways and Means today released a state budget proposal that recommends $10 million to support the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) for the coming fiscal year.

The MCC’s current budget is $14 million; in his FY17 budget released in January, the Governor proposed level funding.

The House Ways & Means proposal—a roughly 28 percent cut—would force reductions in MCC grants for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, education and youth programs, and artist fellowships.

“The arts and culture must be part of any state effort to build prosperity and widen opportunity for our citizens,” said Anita Walker, MCC Executive Director. “Today’s budget proposal reminds us that we have much work to do to make our case with our state legislative leadership. As we have done in the past we need to rally all of our voices in a call for the state investment that our sector deserves.”

State Representative Cory Atkins of Concord, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development, will file an amendment to increase cultural funding to $17 million for FY17. This amendment would allow MCC to continue to reinvest in its core grant programs for nonprofits, communities, schools, and artists.

Amendments are due by 5 pm this Friday, April 15, after which they will be assigned a number. MCC will work with MASSCreative, Mass Humanities, Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and other allies to build support for this amendment by urging her House colleagues to sign on as cosponsors. The full House will take up the FY17 state budget starting the week of April 25.

The Auburn Cultural Council – the MCC’s local agency – is largely funded through budget allocations to the Mass Cultural Council. The Auburn Cultural Council will provide over $6,000 in grants this year to local cultural organizations.  In previous years, the ACC has funded a wide range of activities from school projects to local theater groups to music and magic at the library.

The House process is one key step in the annual state budget process. The Senate will release its own budget proposal in May. The two chambers must then agree on a tax and spending plan before sending it back to the Governor for final approval before the start of FY17 on July 1.

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.

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.