Arts Policy Issues On Hold With Congressional Recess

Dear Friends,

We wanted to share the important message below from Americans for the Arts about arts policy issues in the upcoming elections.

Martha Richards, Executive Director

From Americans for the Arts – October 3, 2012

As we start October, Congress is in a recess through November’s national elections and it leaves some enormous policy issues hanging in the balance. We wanted to take a moment to apprise you of potential actions, their possible effect on the arts, and provide you with a suggested message to your congressional delegation as they prepare for the final legislative session of the year.

  • Last week, Congress and the administration pushed aside one contentious problem by passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) that sets federal spending for FY 2013 through March of next year. Cultural agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education can expect flat funding during this period with the NEA currently budgeted at last year’s level of $146 million. We’ll need to resume our fight to increase NEA funding early next year in the new Congress.
  • Congress continues to struggle to find common ground on the appropriations “sequestration” process created by last summer’s confrontation over the debt limit. Unless changes are made by the end of the year, the National Endowment for the Arts, along with almost every other federal agency, will receive a budget cut of about 8.2 percent, or in the NEA’s case, about a $12 million cut.
  • Also in the balance are popular tax incentives for charitable giving important to supporting the nonprofit arts. The Charitable Deduction and other incentives continue to be discussed as part of a major tax reform effort, but there have been few details to assess where those policies stand and what will be actionable in Congress during a lame duck session. One positive sign is that the U.S. Senate Finance committee has produced a legislative package that would renew tax free gifts to charities from IRA accounts.

As you can see from the summary above, this year’s campaign season has caused significant confusion in the Capitol this year. There are a great many dynamics at play in the lame duck session which will take place approximately November 13 until December 14, although Congress has been known to stay in session until Christmas Eve.

Please ensure that your voice of support for the arts and the nonprofit sector is heard by your congressional delegation as they prepare for the lame duck session. Take two minutes to send a customizable message to your members of Congress.

Americans for the Arts

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