February 7th: Corbett to Announce Funding Priorities in Midst of $800 Million Deficit

On February 7th, Governor Tom Corbett will address the Commonwealth and present his proposed budget for FY2012-13. With a projected budget deficit of $800 million and mounting, the implications for arts education and cultural funding could be severe.

The Cultural Alliance will be following the Governor’s budget address. We will be live-tweeting throughout, and Arts advocates from around the region are invited to join the conversation by tweeting to our Twitter account, @Philaculture, and using the hashtag #PABudget.

We will also be providing the public with analysis of the Governor’s budget proposal and its impacts on the cultural sector, so make sure to follow the Cultural Alliance on Facebook and sign up for our Action Center.

Last year, the governor proposed and the General Assembly ultimately enacted a budget which cut primary and higher education and the department of public welfare, among other government programs, while holding the line on tax increases. Despite a proposal to cut the granting budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts by 70%, in the end the arts were largely spared from additional cuts in FY2011-12. Cultural programs that had been zeroed out in previous years (such as support for public television and museum funding through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission) were again left unfunded.

With arts and cultural programs already cut to the bone, or worse, advocates had hoped that we had finally reached the nadir of public funding for the arts and that we could start rebuilding over future years. However, news of an exploding budget deficit and recent emergency spending reductions by the Governor highlight how precarious all state funding is this year.

The Cultural Alliance is hard at work educating lawmakers and civic leaders about the importance of arts and culture to our communities and to our state’s economy.  But in this climate of economic stagnation and budget austerity, nothing can be taken for granted. We will continue to work diligently to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to support community-oriented cultural programming.  We will advocate, educate and lobby on behalf of our members, the larger cultural sector and the communities which we serve.  

If you believe that arts and culture are crucial to fostering a healthy economy, improving our neighborhoods, and preparing Pennsylvania’s youth with the creativity and capacity for innovation necessary for today’s job market, then take a moment to sign up for the Cultural Alliance’s Action Center for advocacy alerts and updates. If you're already on our list, be sure to encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up as well. Your help will be crucial in the coming months.  

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