….AND ONE FINAL CHANCE TO MAKE IT RIGHT!
What has happened:
HB 1, our state budget, passed through House and Senate on Friday, and the Cultural Economy has not fared well:
1. Decentralized Arts Funding has been cut from $2.5 million in the last fiscal year to $1.4 million for the coming year. This represents a 45% cut that will CRIPPLE this important program!
2. Statewide Arts Grants have taken a devastating hit: This program was cut from $2.3 million in the last fiscal year to $340,000 for the coming year. This is a horrifying cut of more than 85%, basically KILLING funding for many of Louisiana’s major nonprofit organizations.
Over the past two weeks, you — the public and constituent base — have sent more than 80,000 individual messages to your legislators. Our senators and representatives certainly can not claim that they didn’t hear your voices.
THERE IS ONE LAST GLIMPSE OF HOPE:
Today legislators will return to the capitol 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.
Click here to send a message RIGHT NOW to your senators and representatives and DEMAND that they:
1. RESTORE $750,000 TO DECENTRALIZED
2. RESTORE $1.6 MILLION TO STATEWIDE ARTS GRANTS.
Ask them to do what’s right for their constituents.
These are tough times: Our coast and waters are fouled with oil, and we are fearful about moratoriums and the economic impact all of this will have on our state.
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 back to our state, returning more than $7 – $1 to the tax base. 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 & culture that brought New Orleans back from 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.
PLEASE HELP PRESERVE THE FUTURE OF ART & CULTURE IN LOUISIANA!