Article courtesy National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Aggregate legislative appropriations to state arts agencies increased by 2.1% in fiscal year 2019, according to data published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) and an accompanying report, State Arts Agency Revenues, Fiscal Year 2019. After a positive trajectory of recovery coming out of the Great Recession, state arts agency appropriations have remained relatively level from FY2015 to the present. Legislative appropriations to state arts agencies in FY2019 total $360.5 million, equating to an investment of $1.09 per capita. This is a $0.02 increase from FY2018 and the fifth year in a row that state arts agency legislative appropriations have been above $1.00 per capita. “State arts agencies use vital public funding to ensure all communities receive the well-documented benefits the arts offer,” said NASAA President and CEO Pam Breaux. “Grants and services from state arts agencies expand opportunities for diverse populations to experience the arts and help communities flourish.” Although this year’s aggregate increase is small, legislative appropriations to state arts agencies are showing positive growth compared to last fiscal year. Twenty-seven state arts agencies, compared to 22 in FY2018, reported increases in 2019; most of that growth is concentrated in 14 states. Twenty state arts agencies reported flat funding and 9 reported decreases (down from 19 in FY2018), with a median decrease of 14.7%. When line item appropriations (funds that pass through state arts agency budgets) are excluded, appropriations to state arts agencies increased by less than 1%. State general fund revenues experienced a robust aggregate growth of 6.4% in FY2018, with healthy revenue collection continuing during the first half of FY2019. While overall state spending for fiscal year 2019 grew by 4.3%, total appropriations to state arts agencies increased by only 2%. The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 caused a number of changes in state tax codes. States are uncertain about the full effects of these changes on state revenues. Revenue uncertainty was exacerbated by a protracted federal government shutdown early in calendar year 2019. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is the nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization of the nation’s state and jurisdictional arts agencies. NASAA serves as a clearinghouse for data and research about public funding and the arts. Additional information on state arts agency funding, the impact of government support for the arts and how these funds are used in grant making is available on the NASAA website.

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