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Budget Update from Ohio Citizens for the Arts   07.22.09

Below is a "re-printing" of an email from Ohio Citizens for the Arts. Thank you to all you corresponded with your representatives and policy makers to retain arts funding. Please continue your efforts and do all you can to educate your politicians about the arts and their importance to our communities.  I recommend reviewing the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Advocacy FAQ page.
The final curtain in the budget drama came down with a thud as the Governor signed the state's FY 2010-2011 budget.  In the worst economic crisis since the creation of the Ohio Arts Council, the good news is that there still is an agency.

Your advocacy efforts ensured we still have an Ohio Arts Council despite threats of extinction by some law makers.  Thanks to all of you who participated in this process.

The bad news is that the Ohio Arts Council will have fewer dollars to help Ohio's vital arts community in the coming biennium. We are deeply disappointed in the final budget allocations for the Ohio Arts Council, which total $13,188,580 for the biennium.  This funding represents a 47% decrease from the original appropriation of $24.9 million for the previous biennium and a 38% decrease from the final allocation of $21.3 million. We are disappointed that the members of the Ohio legislature and the Governor, who heard our message and told us they agreed that the arts are important and worth the state's investment, in the end did not provide adequate funding.

We must recognize that with tight budgets as far into the future as discernible, with the plague of term limits which restrict members to a few years of learning about the arts, and with increasing problems in the area of Ohio's economy and education, it is now imperative that we do much more on a constant basis to educate members of the legislature, possible members of the legislature, and the Governor about the importance of what we do to help solve Ohio's most pressing problems.  If you believe in the necessity of public support to keep our arts institutions and artists viable, we must redouble our efforts at communicating that which we know to a certitude to legislators.

Our policy makers must be made to understand the role the arts play in education.  We now have generations of tests which prove conclusively that children who are immersed in the arts do better across the board, in every subject and in their ability to learn.

The Board and staff at Ohio Citizens for the Arts have never been more proud of the arts advocates in Ohio.  During this budget cycle more than 25,000,000 emails were sent to the Governor and members of the Ohio House and Senate.  Arts advocates made personal visits with legislators at home and in Columbus. Arts advocates worked beyond the call of duty to enlist friends and colleagues to join in the advocacy effort.  Editorials, facebook, blogs, and websites all carried the call to action in support of the arts. We thank you for your dedication.

We must forge ahead in our efforts to educate policy makers about the value of and need for the arts in Ohio.  We must continue to deliver the message that the arts in Ohio are part of the solution.  The arts are economic drivers that generate revenue:

Creative industries contribute more than $25 billion to Ohio's economy annually
Creative industries support 231,200 jobs in Ohio's economy annually
Creative industries generate $1.06 billion in state and local tax revenues annually
Creative industries generate $1.78 billion in federal tax revenues annually

Ohio Citizens for the Arts is committed to help you, your organization, and your community to continue the fight for arts funding. Together we can educate and prepare legislators to be better equipped to make the right decisions about investing in the arts.

William P. Blair
Legislative Counsel
Donna S. Collins
Executive Director
Ohio Citizens for the Arts

Author: Christopher Lynn, Executive Director
Category: General

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