Whenever the Vermont Legislature ends a session and goes home for the summer, some constituents are happy and others are not. Count the folks over at the Vermont Arts Council in the PDH (pretty damn happy) camp. That's because, for the first time in 20 years, the council got a raise — a 26 percent increase in its appropriation from the state budget!
The VAC asked the legislature to double its budget and that didn't happen. But 26 percent is nothing to sneeze at. Better yet, the amount agreed upon by lawmakers was enough to entitle the VAC to a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
As it happens, the NEA handed out a little less money across the board this year, thanks to sequestration, but the overall increase for Vermont with combined state and federal money is roughly $100,000.
I attempted to copy a by-the-numbers explanation from the VAC's newsletter and it's not pretty, but still tells the tale. See it below the break:
Here’s this year’s advocacy process boiled down to TEN NUMBERS!
This Year (Fiscal Year 2013: July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013)
707,600 National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) appropriation to Vermont
506,607 Vermont legislative appropriation to Vermont Arts Council
1,214,007 TOTAL CASH APPROPRIATION from Federal and State Governments
Next Year (Fiscal Year 2014: July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014)
1,000,607 Request to Governor for FY2014 (December 2012)
717,607 Governor’s response and recommendation for FY2014 (January 2013)
641,607 Vermont legislative appropriation to Vermont Arts Council (26% increase over last year)
42,000 In-kind rent contribution
683,607 Vermont TOTAL, applicable as match from NEA (cash & in-kind)
671,400 NEA appropriation for FY2014E
1,313,007 TOTAL CASH APPROPRIATION from Federal and State Governments
The memo went on to explain how the council will use the increase:
1. To expand marketing research & campaigns to broaden the presence of the arts inside and outside Vermont.
2. To expand research & program activity in support of curriculum-based arts education in grades K-12.
3. To address administrative & fee-based budget adjustments.
Spending on the arts is paltry in this country compared to other industrialized nations, but, even so, it's nice to see the number go up. Happy increase, VAC!