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January 14, 2015

Calif. Budget Plan Would Undo Big Boost in Arts Funding

California Gov. Jerry Brown's 2015-16 budget proposal would cut arts spending funded by state taxpayers from $6-million to $1.1-million, reports the Los Angeles Times. If adopted as is, the budget would return state money for the grant-making California Arts Council to just above the minimum to get matching funds from the National Endowment to the Arts.

Arts advocates succeeded last year in securing a big increase in funding for the council, which had hovered around $1-million annually for the previous decade, ranking California near the bottom among states in arts spending. They had hoped the administration would adopt $6-million as the new benchmark, but a written introduction in Mr. Brown's budget notes that with economic growth uncertain "the state cannot take on ongoing new spending commitments.”

The governor's plan allocates a total of $4.9-million for the arts agency, most of it from federal money and the sale of special arts-themed license plates. Advocates said they were not surprised by the governor's proposal but would lobby to restore the cuts.