This week, advocates from around the state are gearing up for the opening session of the Maryland General Assembly, which begins tomorrow. While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused incredible hardship for families and the nonprofits who serve them, the state has more than $4.5 billion in surplus for the current and next fiscal years. The Governor and General Assembly are faced with critical decisions about how best to use this surplus, which was the result of federal pandemic aid and better-than-expected state revenues.
For the larger nonprofit sector, Maryland Nonprofits is advocating for the State to dedicate $1 billion of the projected budget surplus for targeted relief, and that $500 million of this commitment continue in future budgets to assure sustainability. You can learn more about their recommendations here.
From the perspective of the Arts and Culture sector, which has been a billion dollar industry in the state, the pandemic has been a financial disaster. Even considering relief funding that was provided through the Paycheck Protection Program and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, the sector in Maryland has sustained a $134 million economic loss.
Additionally, according to a study recently released by Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) utilizing data collected by the Maryland State Arts Council, there has been a loss of 30,884 jobs, 15.2 million in attendance, and $79.4 million in arts visitor spending.
How can you help impact budget outcomes in this is particularly important year for arts advocacy?
Watch Maryland Citizens for the Arts’ website for updates. Governor Larry Hogan’s budget will be released next Wednesday after which time MCA will publish its priorities and a link to register for Maryland Arts Day on February 17, 2022.
Our partners at Maryland Humanities are also working on their policy strategy and are focusing on increasing state funding used for regranting to small organizations. Last year, Maryland Humanities took the important step of revising its grantmaking to precious general operating support, rather than project-related grants.
In other news, applications for Urban Arts Leadership are open! Please share the link with the talented, emerging leaders in your network!