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Update on the NEA's Budget

This week, President Trump and his administration released their proposal to the U.S. Congress for the federal Fiscal Year 2019 (FFY 2019) budget, which runs from October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

As the great athlete, coach, and philosopher Yogi Berra once said, it’s déjà vu all over again.

The budget proposal recommends elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), among many other agencies, similar to last year. A full statement from NEA Chairman Jane Chu is available by clicking here.

Ultimately, the President’s budget proposal is just that—a proposal offered to the U.S. Congress. It’s a starting point in a very lengthy appropriations process. The U.S. Congress must work its will—often very independently of the President—to provide federal appropriations. In the end, the authority rests with your U.S. Congressmen, Congresswomen, and Senators.

And that’s good news for us in the arts. Thanks to your advocacy, the NEA enjoys broad, bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress—and the NEA has survived as a result.

The U.S. Congress rejected the President’s first call to eliminate the NEA for the current FFY 2018 budget. Instead, the NEA is currently being funded at its prior funding level of $150 million. The U.S. Congress has not yet passed a final FFY 2018 budget, but we remain confident that lawmakers will continue to fund the NEA through the rest of the fiscal year.

But our confidence does not mean we should be naïve or passive. Political winds change quickly. We must seize this opportunity to make the case for the NEA—and, more broadly, for public support of the arts.

The NEA funds the arts in every single Congressional district—in Ohio and across the nation. At the Ohio Arts Council, every dollar we receive from the NEA is reinvested directly as grants for the arts in Ohio communities. That’s a $1 million impact on our state, every year, with no dollars used on administration or overhead.

So what can you do?

National Arts Advocacy Day is well-timed this year. On March 12-13, arts supporters will make their voices heard in Washington. Learn more about Americans for the Arts and how you can participate by clicking here.

Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA) is our state’s arts advocacy organization. OCA will be coordinating Ohio’s presence in Washington in March, and they are our constant presence before state and federal lawmakers. Learn more about OCA by clicking here.

We will keep you informed as FFY 18 and FFY 19 funding levels for the NEA are finalized.

For now, I’ll repeat my closing thoughts from a year ago at this time: Stay calm and remain strong. The NEA and the arts community will persevere.

Until next time,

Donna Collins' signature

Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

Photo courtesy of Pixabay, by user MotionStudios

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