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President Obama Proposes Deep Cut to NEA in FY 2012 Budget

The Obama Administration released today the FY 2012 budget request to Congress which includes the nation’s cultural agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Institute for Museums and Library Services (IMLS), and the Department of Education’s Arts in Education program.

As Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch noted in a press statement:
“The administration request of $146 million for the National Endowment for the Arts is a decrease of $21 million from the $167.5 million that Congress appropriated last year. The arts community recognizes the shared sacrifice being asked of all federal agencies to help reduce our national debt and is willing to do its part. President Obama had acknowledged in his State of the Union that it was time to prioritize and identify the programs and agencies that work and invest in them to ‘win the future.’ The NEA is one of those agencies. It helps create jobs and drive economic activity by leveraging modest but critical funds at the state and local level and is part of the solution to returning our economic vitality.

At a time when NEA dollars are the critical lifeline helping state and local budgets survive as philanthropic dollars are dwindling, this drastic reduction does not take into account the incredible return on investment those funds generate to federal, state and local treasuries. While we are pleased that cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian received additional funds and that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting saw continued support from the president, we believe the administration has missed the mark with such a deep cut to the primary federal source for leveraging support for cultural programs and public and private funding to every state and community in our country.

It is our hope that Congress and President Obama will work together to come to a compromise that understands the importance of the creative sector to our communities and economy.”

A Complicated Budget Situation
President Obama’s budget announcement today is complicated by the fact that Congress has yet to complete consideration of the previous year’s budget (FY 2011). As you may know from our email alerts to you last week, we are working to prevent deep cuts to, or possible termination of, the NEA from taking place in the U.S. House of Representatives later this week. We will be monitoring action in the House and reporting back to our grassroots advocates as soon as possible.

Help us continue this important work by becoming an official member of the Arts Action Fund. If you are not already a member play your part by joining the Arts Action Fund today–it’s free and simple.

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