State Budget with $5M for California Arts Council Waits for Governor's Signature

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 11:51am

The California State Capitol seen down Capitol Mall; Sacramento, CaliforniaThe California State Legislature on Sunday approved a budget for 2014-2015 that includes a $5 million increase in funding to the California Arts Council.  The funding increase comes following an impassioned advocacy season in which state advocates Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates worked hard to convince legislators increased funding was a necessity for California's immediate future.

In a legislative session that began with three bills proposing increased funding for the state's arts agency, many advocates and elected officials worked together to support the restored funding for California's arts community. The bill made steady progress through budget committees within the legislature.

"I have great interest in getting the CAC back to the funding it had before the fall of the dot com," said Senator Mark Leno during the recent Budget Conference Committee hearing. "In 2000, I believe it was as high as $30 million and it got slashed to $1 million… it’s at about 3 cents per capita. The chair is right; other states are at $1 dollar [per capita]. I think the highest states, Minnesota or New York may be $5 per capita, so we’ve got a long way to go to get back."

The current allocation will raise the agency's funding by 500% to about 18 cents per capita.  The budget bill now sits with Governor Jerry Brown for approval and signing, at which point it will become the law of the land.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom, whose district includes Malibu, Santa Monica, and western portions of Los Angeles, said, "We have a copious amount of evidence about how important the arts are to development in children, and in addition, this is an arts based state. If you think about many of our important industries, from technology to the film industry and music industry, they are baseline parts of our economy here...  Hopefully we will be able to build from here."

On behalf of our Member Organizations and advocates in Los Angeles County, Arts for LA thanks the legislature for the hard work that went into crafting and approving this increased funding. 

Photo credit: The California State Capitol seen down Capitol Mall; Sacramento, California by Aidan Wakely-Mulroney, on Flickr