The Baltimore Orioles hit it out of the park for opening Day at Camden Yards yesterday and Light City continues to enliven the Inner Harbor and seven neighborhoodsaround the City. Rain or shine, there are many great things happening in Baltimore.
And around the state, the Maryland General Assembly has concluded its business and yesterday Governor Hogan signed the 2018 budget. As reported by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA), the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is set to receive a new record for arts funding in the state at $20.4 million.
Regrettably, during the final Conference Committee, $600,000 of the $2 million appropriation from the Special Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Arts that was slated to go to MSAC was moved towards other legislative funding priorities. While this budget redirection is unfortunate, we should focus on the progress that has been made for state funding.
Over the last five years, MCA has helped secure a 48% increase in state arts funding in Maryland. This money has gone directly to MSAC, which has been able to better support arts programs across the state as a result. Additionally, under the leadership of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, the General Assembly approved a law which will dramatically increase state funding for the arts over the next five fiscal years. This new law (now Chapter 145) will allow state arts funding to grow not only by the mandate set in place in 1994, but also by an additional $1 million each year for the next five fiscal years. Maryland maintains its position at fourth in the country in per capita funding for the arts. Another home run!
In Washington, D.C., Congress has their hands full with the Supreme Court nomination and will be on recess for two weeks starting Monday. At the same time, GBCA and our partners at Maryland Citizens for the Arts encourage you to contact your elected officials, write letters, and continue to voice your support. We are particularly concerned about the proposed elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Museum and Library Services’ Office of Museum Services Funding (IMLS), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Heritage Areas.
The nonprofit community at-large is also extremely concerned about the impact that a change in charitable deduction allowances might have on gifts of cash and real property. Museums alone rely on charitable contributions for one-third of their operating funds. For other nonprofits it can be even more.
As always, you can stay on top of our advocacy efforts and calls to action on GBCA's advocacy page here!
Keep working on those cards, letters, and phone calls to your elected officials!