A summary of Arts Advocacy happenings over the last year.
At the State Level:
- Georgia Department of Education announced a Fine Arts Coordinator position. GDOE has not had such a position in over 20 years
- HB 76, the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, went to Conference Committee after the Senate Finance Committee, led by Senator Jack Hill, added $300,000 to the Georgia Council for the Arts budget. The increase was retained in the final budget bill and is effectively a 50 percent increase in the initial proposed budget, which was basically flat funding. The total budget now is $900,360. While Georgia has now surpassed Kansas to reach the 49th rank among the states for arts funding, the increase means our state funds the arts at just $0.09 per capita. We should celebrate the first significant increase in 7 years, but there is still much work to do!
- Governor Deal appointed an Arts Learning Task Force that is studying how to improve arts education in our state.
At the National Level:
The Georgia Arts Network led the state delegation at National Arts Advocacy Day on March 24. There were 23 advocates in the delegation – Georgia was in the top 5 states participating by size of delegation. Of the 16 Georgia Congressional offices, delegates were able to meet both of the Senatorial offices and ten of the House offices.
- The primary emphases for Congressional visits were:
- Support for an NEA allocation of $155M in the FY2016 budget
- Protection of deductibility levels for charitable contributions
- Urging the reinstatement and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover
- Support for reauthorization and strengthening of the arts components in the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA)