The Governor released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 on Thursday, January 17th. Funding for the Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) in his proposal remains unchanged from FY13, at about $578,689. Every other agency within the Department of Economic Development has small reductions to their budget in the Governor’s proposal. The lack of cuts to the GCA’s budget, we believe, is a reflection of the Governor’s belief in the importance of the GCA and a recognition that is is already underfunded. While the Georgia Arts Network’s position is that a minimum of $1,000,000 should be appropriated to the GCA from state funds, we appreciate the efforts of the Governor and his administration not to further reduce state arts funding, which has seen a decrease of more than 85% over the past 6 years.
The next step is for a budget bill to be introduced in the House of Representatives, where it will be referred to the House Appropriations Committee. The subcommittee on Economic Development will make recommendations on the portions of the bill affecting the Georgia Council for the Arts. The bill will be referred back to the full House, with recommended amendments, for a vote and then the bill is passed on to the Senate and follows a similar process there. The Georgia Arts Network will keep you updated on this process, and we will provide you with the means to easily email your legislators, and specifically the members of the Economic Development subcommittees, once the bill is introduced and referred to committee. You can also speak in person with your legislators about the importance of the arts by attending Arts Advocacy Day with us on January 29th.
You can download and read the budget proposal in its entirety from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) website here.