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Pennsylvania's Gubernatorial Candidates Provide Positions on Arts and Culture

Election season is in full swing and with the gubernatorial primary just five days away, we at the Cultural Alliance wanted to know each of the Democratic candidates' positions on some of the major issues facing the cultural sector in Pennsylvania.


On Tuesday, May 20th, voters will choose one of the four candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the 2014 governor's race. Before the voters head to the polls this Tuesday, we wanted to know each candidate's position on the important issues facing the cultural sector in Pennsylvania. We submitted the same seven questions to Rob McCord, Katie McGinty, Allyson Schwartz and Tom Wolf and asked them to respond with how they would approach these issues if elected governor. Katie McGinty did not respond by the time we went to print. 

These questions were not submitted to Governor Corbett because he is the incumbent and will not have a ballot challenger in the primary. We look forward to engaging both Governor Corbett and the Democratic nominee later in year as the General Election nears. 

To see each candidate's answers to the following questions please click on their name:

Rob McCord

Allyson Schwartz

Tom Wolf

For a summary of how Governor Corbett's proposed FY2015 budget would impact arts and culture click here

The submitted questions were a result of collaboration between the Cultural Alliance, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania. You can read the questions below:

1. Funding for Grants to the Arts, through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, has received a 47% cut since 2008. These grants reach non-profit arts organizations in all 67 counties, in both rural and urban communities and organizations both small and large. The program is currently funded at $8.179 million and ranks 24th nationally in per capita funding at $0.71. With the exception of West Virginia, all the states contiguous to Pennsylvania rank higher. Would you support an increase, over the next three years, to $1.66 per capita which represents the average of the per capita number of the states bordering the Commonwealth? Why or why not?

2.   In 2009, Governor Rendell cut the $9 million grant-making budget for PHMC grants to non-state-owned museums and historical sites. In 2013, Governor Corbett created a new line item for Cultural and Historical Support grants to non-state-owned museums and historical sites, which continue to be funded at $2 million.  Due to the decrease in funding for the grant program, grants are only issued to museum and historical sites with larger budgets, and thus smaller non state-owned organizations are shut out from the process. Would you support an increase in the Cultural and Historical Support grants in order to make it more comparable to the $8.179 million that PCA receives from the state for grant-making?

3. There are several bills in the General Assembly that deal with dedicated funding for arts and culture. These bills direct funds from either the collection of the realty transfer tax or the hotel occupancy sales tax, all revenue from the General Fund, to these dedicated funding streams. Would you support dedicated funding streams for arts and culture? How might dedicated funding streams affect arts and culture line items in the state budget? 

4. Currently the arts (visual arts and music) are not considered a core academic subject in Pennsylvania as they are under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Would you support the inclusion of the arts as a core subject?

5. Would you be supportive of increasing the capacity of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit to target specifically STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) programs in its provisions for contributions to approved Educational Improvement Organizations?

6. Pennsylvania has been heralded as “Hollywood East.” The state’s Film Production Tax Credit has been responsible for creating 18,000 jobs and generating $2.7 billion in economic activity since 2007. But with the tax credit cap set at $60 million, Pennsylvania has lost out on blockbuster filming opportunities to states like Massachusetts, which has no cap. Would you support uncapping the film production tax credit to attract more film business to Pennsylvania?

 7. 12 states, including Maryland and West Virginia, have formal state policies to incentivize the creation of cultural districts which have been proven to trigger economic development and neighborhood revitalization because of what arts and culture actually does: bring tourist spending, attract creative businesses, increase property values, etc. Cultural districts, which number 156 nationally, are in both urban and rural settings. Policies to support the creation of these districts include state tax incentives to leverage local investment in the arts and culture and technical assistance programs. Is state policy to help create local cultural districts through Pennsylvania an idea you could support?