Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich released his budget proposal for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. This budget includes a 19.5 percent reduction to the Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) general fund appropriation, bringing its FY12/13 budget to $10,611,408. After sustaining a 47 percent decrease in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, this additional reduction will further limit support to artists, arts organizations, schools and other entities engaged in cultural programming throughout the state.
“While any reduction in funding presents its challenges, we are happy to see that Governor Kasich recognizes the ongoing value of public support of the arts during these difficult economic times. Over the years, Ohio Arts Council funding has essentially served as an economic development tool in our communities. The agency’s funding has supported job creation and strong public/private partnerships that have enhanced downtown revitalization efforts, invigorated community development projects, supported arts education in our schools and ensured that Ohio’s quality of life standards are maintained,” said OAC Executive Director Julie S. Henahan. “This has all been done with a comparatively modest amount of investment from the state. Maintaining support for the arts is a good public investment that reinforces other policies that are important to the governor’s vision for Ohio’s future.”
The OAC’s current budget is less than 1/27th of 1 percent of the entire state budget. Ohio’s current spending on the arts is just $0.57 per person. In FY2010, the OAC awarded $5.5 million in grants to Ohio artists, schools and organizations producing or presenting arts programming.
“We at the Ohio Arts Council understand the depth of the financial crisis our state faces. It is good to see that in this environment Governor Kasich continues the long tradition of supporting Ohio’s arts and cultural infrastructure,” said OAC Board Chair Jakki Nance. “Every year, the creative industries in Ohio contribute more than $25 billion to the state’s economy and support more than 231,000 jobs annually. Making a public investment in the arts now is the perfect time to tap into the economic potential of this industry to aid in restoring prosperity to Ohio.”
Budget deliberations will continue until the Legislature votes to approve the FY2012/2013 budget, which will then be sent to Gov. Kasich for his signature by June 30, 2011.
About the Ohio Arts Council:
The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.