More big news for the arts & arts education

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It has been a big day in Washington with agreements on both Fiscal Year 2016 funding and expired tax provisions impacting charitable giving.

Early this morning, Congress released the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. The bills call for an increase in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)’s budget of almost $2 million and a permanent extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover- big legislative wins!

•    The budget for the NEA was increased to $147.949 million- to the President’s request. Earlier this year, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House proposals were to level-fund the NEA for the fifth year in a row, but the success of the 2-year budget agreement to “raise the caps” enabled additional funding to reach the agency.

•    The budget for the U.S. Department of Educations’ Arts in Education program also increased to $27 million—a $2 million increase. In recent years this program had received level-funding and had also seen proposals for termination, but arts advocates once again made the case and in the next authorization beginning in Fiscal Year 2017, it continues under the “Assistance for Arts Education” program enacted under ESSA- the Every Student Succeeds Act, now signed into law.  

•    On charitable giving, the non-profit arts community has been pursuing making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover for over decade. Permanence will give certainty and spur new and increased charitable donations to social service programs, religious organizations, arts and culture institutions, schools, healthcare providers, and the full array of nonprofits that serve Americans every day. The eligibility in the agreement is the same as previous law: 70 ½ years of age and a maximum of up to $100,000 given directly to a charity of choice per taxpayer in any tax year.

 Both these bills are anticipated to be signed into law on or before December 22.