NEA and State Dept Increase, Arts Ed Advances, IRA Uncertain (12/19/07)
Congress Approves Historic NEA Increase
NEA funding will grow by $20.3 million in FY08, the largest single increase for the agency in more than 30 years. In a very lean budget year, Congress approved this major restoration of NEA funds, bringing the total support for the agency to $144.7 million. Thank you for letting Congress know the value of NEA support for orchestras and the communities they serve. Advocacy efforts by orchestras in 2007 were closely coordinated with national efforts by the entire arts community, spurring this major advancement in NEA funding. Following are highlights from this year's efforts:
- Phoenix Violist Karen Bea testifies on behalf of the League and the American Arts Alliance
- Arts Advocacy Day Unites Arts Community in Common Effort
- Orchestras Weigh in with Policymakers
The NEA funding increase was included in a catch-all spending bill that combined 11 annual federal funding measures. Congressional Arts Caucus co-chairs Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Chris Shays (R-CT) rallied House colleagues in support of the NEA, and Interior Appropriations Committee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA) championed NEA funding as a priority issue. Today's advancement of NEA funds reflects years of advocacy since the agency's budget was severely cut in 1995. Orchestras will continue to seek full restoration of NEA funding in 2008. Stay tuned!
See How NEA Grants to Orchestras Serve Communities
Arts Ed Advances; Survey Fully Funded
What is the status of arts education in our nation’s schools? After nearly 10 years without comprehensive national data, Congress has approved more than $2 million in funding to support a fast-response arts education survey in the 08-09 school year. Orchestras and other arts advocates rallied behind this request for data collection.
Congress also approved near-level funding for the competitive Arts in Education grant programs of the U.S. Department of Education, following an across-the-board cut to all of the Department's programs. Despite the President’s proposal to eliminate Arts in Education spending, along with a number of smaller education programs, Congress acted to approve a total of $37.5 million in Arts in Education spending for FY08.
IRA Rollover Action Uncertain
As Congress wraps up work for 2007, it has still neglected to address the extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover Provision. The provision, which allows individuals aged 70 ½ and older to make charitable gifts from their IRAs tax-free up to a total of $100,000 per year, is set to expire December 31, 2007 -- just over one year after its enactment. Congress may take up a tax bill early in 2008, providing an opportunity to revive this important giving incentive. Thank you for weighing in on this important issue and please stay tuned for further updates.
Find More on Tax Policy
Cultural Exchange Funds Available
The Educational and Cultural Exchange programs of the U.S. State Department received a $59 million increase for FY08. While it is not clear how much of this funding might be dedicated to the grant program that supports international cultural exchanges, orchestras should take note of a current grant opportunity. The State Department is inviting grant proposals for programs that support international exchanges and build relationships between U.S. nonprofit organizations and cultural groups abroad. Eligible programs will support exchanges with Africa, East Asia, Europe, the Near East, North Africa, South Central Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The application process is highly competitive, and focuses on projects that encourage citizen engagement in current issues, focus particularly on youth, and promote the development of democratic societies and institutions. Applications are due February 15, 2008.
Learn Further Details About the Open Competition
The League is a member of the Performing Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.