With a state budget still not passed in Connecticut, arts organizations—along with all other businesses and economic sectors—face uncertain financial futures. A survey conducted among nonprofit arts organizations and arts providers in September indicated that the delay in passing a state budget had already affected over 58% of respondents, primarily in requiring programming cuts. Other negative effects were payroll cuts, hiring freezes, reduction in operating hours, nonpayment of accounts payable, lack of booking arts education programs and performances through schools, and massive efforts to replace state dollars with private funding. Over 66% of respondents believed that further delay in passing a budget would cause additional hardships, with the most extreme fear being a forced closure.
As we continue to wait for a state budget, it is important to stress the economic necessity of arts funding—which represents only 0.02% of that budget—to our legislators. The following two messages must be our priority.
- In order for Connecticut not to completely disqualify itself from receiving federal NEA matching funds, the state budget MUST have at least $1 million in designated arts funds sourced through the General Fund, and not through a fund that is controlled only by revenues generated by the hotel tax, as is currently proposed. Current budget proposals will disqualify Connecticut from receiving matching NEA funding.
- In order to maintain, an already bare bones nonprofit cultural sector that has proven to be a sound and dependable return on investment, the arts need to receive at least $5 million in additional funding from the newly proposed Marketing, Culture and Tourism Account. That is what will allow the arts sector to continue to generate state and local revenues and make our state a great place to live, work, and play.
Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $797.25 million in annual economic activity in the state of Connecticut, supporting over 23,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $72.27 million in local and state government revenues, according to the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 national economic impact study conducted by Americans for the Arts.
Please keep these facts in mind and, arts organizations and supporters, please continue to share them with your legislators and stress the importance of keeping the arts alive in our great state!