Monday, February 12, 2018

Following the release of the Trump Administration’s proposed FY2019 budget, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch released the following statement:
“I am troubled by the short-sightedness of the Trump Administration’s proposed FY2019 budget, which calls for termination of the National Endowment for the Arts. 
“The proposed budget ignores the fact that Congress soundly rejected this same attempt last year to terminate the nation’s cultural agencies, including the NEA, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. With only a $150 million annual appropriation, the NEA’s investment in every congressional district in the country contributes to a $730 billion arts and culture industry in America, representing 4.2 percent of the annual GDP. The nation’s arts and culture industry supports 4.8 million jobs and yields a $26 billion trade surplus for our country. Despite the President’s State of the Union speech proclaiming 'Americans fill the world with art and music,' there seems to be a disconnect on the need to invest in our nation’s future support of the arts and arts education. The federal investment in the arts helps power the creative economy across the country.
“The NEA’s budget is just 0.004 percent of the federal budget. That amounts to 47 cents per capita. In fact, the NEA budget has been losing its share of federal discretionary spending and failing to keep pace with inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the NEA’s 1992 budget would be more than twice the current budget. 
“For more than 50 years, the NEA has expanded access to the arts for all Americans, awarding grants in every Congressional district throughout all 50 states and U.S. territories as well as placing arts therapists in 12 military hospitals to help returning soldiers heal from traumatic brain injuries. It is because of programs like these that congressional appropriators have chosen, on a bipartisan basis, to reject the Administration’s call for termination of the agency, and instead provide ongoing funding.
“Americans for the Arts stands ready to fight for the arts on a bipartisan basis with the 95,000 nonprofit arts organizations across the United States, with the hundreds of arts advocates who will come to Washington, DC, on March 13, 2018, for the 31st annual Arts Advocacy Day, the business community, and the hundreds of thousands of arts advocates that are part of the Arts Action Fund. We work with numerous partners from across the spectrum to make the case for federal funding and the federal role of the agencies in fostering investment, spurring job-related growth, expanding educational opportunities, and providing for the preservation of our heritage.”