Late last night, the Massachusetts Senate passed its $36.2 billion budget after two full days of debate.
Following the lead of chief sponsor Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives and 26 Senate co-sponsors, the Senate approved an amendment to add $2.4 million to the proposed Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). This puts the state’s allocation to the state arts, cultural and creative community to $12 million, an 8% increase over last year’s fiscal budget. It’s a strong signal of support for the Commonwealth’s investment in the creative sector’s work to build more vibrant and connected communities.
Just six weeks ago, the House Ways and Means Committee shocked the arts and cultural community by proposing a 54% cut in the MCC budget. We fought back by making it clear to our political leaders that funding the creative community needs to be a priority.
You helped the creative community climb out of a big hole. That original $5.1 million allocation on April 9 now stands at $12 million.
- More than 500 of you met with 33 representatives and senators out in your communities to tell them about the impact that the arts community has on our neighborhoods.
- In just four days, you sent more than 3,000 emails to the State House urging your representatives and senators to reverse the cuts and increase the MCC budget.
- You recruited 114 representatives and 27 senators, a total of 141 out of 200 state legislators, to sign on to amendments reversing cuts and calling for increases in the MCC budget.
Even with this success, we still have more to do. The budget process continues. The House and Senate are setting up a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House budget for the MCC at $9.6 million and Senate budgets of $12 million.
Stay tuned on our next moves and thanks again for raising your voice.
Matt Wilson, MASSCreative