Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NY State Budget - Severe Cuts for Funding Music

New York State Budget – Severe Cuts for Funding Music – A Call to Action:

Background: New York State has a significant budget deficit and as a consequence Governor Patterson has proposed various cuts and new taxes. A number of these directly concern our membership including (a) cutbacks in funding for the arts; and (b) cutbacks in school funding that will directly hit the already vulnerable music budgets. Needless to say these measures will reduce opportunities to play, hear, record, and be educated about music. They also will have an economic negative impact on membership.

What We Encourage You To Do: Please contact your congressional leaders by email, phone, or in person to encourage them to oppose the proposed budget cuts. Below provides information from the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations that may be helpful.

The Governor's proposed cut for the arts in the current 2008-09 budget stands at
$7 million.
And the total cut to the 2009-10 arts budget is almost $10 million from the start of the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The Governor's proposal remains unchanged. He proposes eliminating the NYSCA funds that have not yet been awarded from the OCTOBER and DECEMBER cycles totaling $7 million. This means that almost all of the almost 600 organizations in those two cycles will not receive any funding.....including those who have general operating support pending. The inequities are staggering!

This proposed reduction is the second one in this current budget (don't forget there was almost approximately a 10% reduction a couple of months ago). It will bring the NYSCA budget down to $38.9 million from $48.5 million at the start of the current fiscal year.
2009 - 10 ARTS BUDGET

The Governor's budget proposes a "$7 million dollar" cut to NYSCA in 2009-10, or $38.9 million for local assistance/grants to the field. HOWEVER, this is actually almost a $10 million cut or approximately a 20% reduction from the beginning of the current fiscal year when the budget was $48.5 million. This means that there will not be an additional cut to NYSCA if the Governor's second proposed cut is approved by the Legislature.

NYSCA Operations budget is almost $5.5 million....down from $6.1 million at the beginning of the current fiscal year and down from $5.7 million after the mid-year cuts.

The Governor proposes merging the New York State Theatre Institute with the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center ("The Egg"). Under the Executive Budget, the New York State Theatre Institute becomes a subsidiary of "The Egg", the Theatre Institute will continue to provide artistic and educational programming for children and families from its current facilities in Troy under the merger. State support for the new organization will be $3.65 million.

We must all take responsibility and act. In this economy no one can afford to sit on the sidelines. So here is what we all need to do:

1. NOW>>>>>>Make appointments to meet your legislators at home...in their district offices before the first week in January. These face to face meetings really matter. Tell your story; dramatize the impact of these cuts in your district. These meetings must take place before the first week in January when the legislative session will begin. We assume the first agenda item will be the Governor's proposed cuts to the current budget.

2. NYS ARTS will mobilize an EMAIL CAMPAIGN before the Legislative Session begins to deal with the current budget reductions. When you receive the email, send it to everyone you know.

3. Come to Albany the first week in January. The arts community must be there when the session convenes to deal with the Governor's proposed cuts to the current budget. We will confirm dates for you.

4. Mark ARTS DAY February 3 on your calendar. Come to Albany. Meet with legislators. Attend the ARTS DAY Reception at the New York State Museum from 5 - 7 pm. A huge turnout will be very important.

5. Watch for NYS ARTS Advocacy Webinars in January. Gather the tips and tools you need to meet with legislators and understand the complexities of the budget issues.

6. The Regional Captain Network, your local advocacy leaders, will be meeting in December to plan and strategize in response to the budget proposals.

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