Arts for LA Issues Statement on Mayor Villaraigosa's Proposed Budget

Thu, 05/02/2013 - 8:58am

Photo: City of LA SealOn Wednesday, Arts for LA sent a statement to Councilmember Paul Krekorian expressing support for Mayor Villaraigosa's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.  Krekorian serves as chairman on the Budget and Finance Committee of the Los Angeles City Council and will oversee the process of soliciting comment and providing feedback on the budget before the City Council votes to pass it in the next several weeks.

Copies of the letter were sent to Councilmembers LaBonge, Koretz, Rosendahl, and Englander, who serve with Krekorian on the Budget and Finance Committee; Councilmember Richard Alarcón, who chairs the council's Arts, Parks, Health, and Aging Committee; and Mayor Villaraigosa.

Overall, the Mayor's proposed budget is good news for arts and culture advocates. After nearly ten years of traumatic cuts and declining funding, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) will experience its first uptick in funding.  DCA does not receive a direct allocation from the city's General Fund in support of its granting programs; instead, revenue is generated by the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) placed on hotel rooms in the City of Los Angeles, of which DCA receives 1% annually.  TOT incomes were higher than anticipated last year now that Los Angeles's tourism and hospitality industries are strengthening after the recession sparked in 2008.

DCA will present to the Budget and Finance Committee information on how the mayor's proposed budget will affect department operations.  After this hearing, the committee has the opportunity to accept the mayor's budget proposal or revise the proposal before the City Council's vote to approve the budget.

The text of Arts for LA's letter follows:


Dear Chairman Krekorian,

I am writing in response to the mayor’s proposed City of Los Angeles budget for the Department of Cultural Affairs for FY 2013-14. This proposed budget reflects a 10.5% increase in TOT revenue as well as one-time general fund revenues generated during the FY 2012-13 year.  Arts for LA is pleased to see the revenues generated through TOT are being reinvested through expenditures that result in increased funding for arts and culture in our city.

It is critical that communities in every neighborhood, every district in Los Angeles have access to rich cultural experiences and programs that not only reflect our own experiences but serve as a lens through which we can understand the experiences of people different from us. The Department of Cultural Affairs grants program is the structure by which we ensure transparent distribution of public money for this purpose. Funds are awarded based on objective criteria, peer review panel comments, and demonstrated capacity for success through the grant application process. The Department also provides important arts education opportunities for communities that would otherwise not have access to vital workforce development programs, growing our creative economy that currently represents one in eight jobs in the region.

The City’s investment in arts and culture is an important economic driver for our thriving tourism industry.  As shown by last year’s Pacific Standard Time collaboration, Los Angeles’s arts and culture core, from our world-class cornerstone institutions to our vibrant grassroots cultural centers, draws guests from neighboring states and across the globe seeking the treasures of America’s creative capital.

This proposed budget allocation to DCA is proud step forward toward full restoration of a department critically under-resourced since 2004. It’s also an opportunity for the City Council to put into action the numerous strong value statements in favor of arts and culture communicated at last month’s ArtsDay celebration.

Please call on me should you have any questions about DCA’s funding or its potential impact in our city.  Arts for LA and its robust network of engaged stakeholders are happy to serve as thought partners and collaborators on this issue in the interest of building together a better future for Los Angeles.


Danielle Brazell
Executive Director