Governor John R. Kasich released his State of Ohio Executive Budget for Fiscal Years 2014-2015 on Monday, February 4, 2013. The Governor has titled the budget: Ohio’s Jobs Budget 2.0: Jobs. Momentum. Transformation.
The Executive Budget recommends that the Ohio Arts Council funding be increased by 11.5% over the current biennium for a total of $19,198,408. The Governor recommends that the appropriation for subsidies (grants to arts organizations throughout Ohio) be increased by $2 million. In the current biennium (FY12-13) that category totaled $14 million for the two years. In the newly introduced Executive Budget recommendation, the total for subsidies is $16 million for the two years beginning July 1, 2013.
In December, 2012 at the Annual Meeting of Ohio Citizens for the Arts, through a unanimous vote of the membership, we set our GOAL FOR THE OHIO ARTS COUNCIL BUDGET AT $22.4 MILLION. This would return us to the most recent budget before the disastrous cuts began over the last three biennia. We applaud Governor Kasich’s confidence in the arts and appreciate him giving us this starting point in the budget process.
There may be other policy issues in the pending legislative language, which we anticipate having in the next week when it is made public, that will impact the arts and we will keep you informed about any issues or actions you need to take.
The budget now is before the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee chaired by Rep. Ron Amstutz (R Wooster). In two weeks our section of the budget will be sent to a subcommittee chaired by Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R Clarksville). It is at that point that we will give direct testimony to the subcommittee on the importance of public funding to the arts and the importance of the arts to the people of Ohio. After the budget has been considered by the House, with its changes having been made, the budget will move to the Senate, probably sometime in April, and go through a similar process. In the Senate, the Finance Committee is chaired by Sen. Scott Oelslager (R Canton) and the subcommittee is chaired by Sen. Randy Gardner (R Bowling Green).
The budget season has begun and we continue our long commitment to keep you informed and engaged as successful advocates for the arts. So as we begin or continue our arts advocacy for this session of the Legislature, we must keep our goal of $22.4 million alive as we talk to our State Representatives and Senators. We will keep you informed of the progress at the Statehouse and count on you to keep us informed of any contacts you have made, questions you have or suggestions as to how we might better achieve our goal. Let the games begin!
William P. Blair
Ohio Citizens for the Arts