SENATE PASSES ITS VERSION OF THE BUDGET and ARTS ADVOCATES ARE APPLAUDING

The Ohio Senate passed its version of the Biennial Budget (AM. SUB. H.B. 59) and arts advocates can see the results of their efforts advocating increases in the appropriation for the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).   As you will recall from our previous messages to you, the Governor’s  Budget recommended that the Ohio Arts Council funding be increased by 11.5% over the current biennium for a total of $19,198,408.  The Governor recommended that the $2 million increase go solely  for subsidies (grants to arts organizations throughout Ohio), raising that category from its current $14 million to $16 million. 
 
On April 18th the Ohio House of Representatives, in adopting its version of the budget, added an additional $1.7 million into subsidies, increasing that category total to $17.7 million for the biennium beginning July 1, 2013. This increase was due to your direct communications with your legislators and we thank you!
 
On Thursday, June 6th, the Ohio Senate passed its version of the budget and increased the OAC budget by $1.8 million.  The Senate added $1.7 into subsidies and $100,000 for equipment/technology.  This means that the total subsidy budget now stands at approximately $19.4 million and the overall OAC budget at $22.7 million, a wonderful increase over the $17.3 million in the current biennium.  Here are the exact figures as of this date:  

Executive Budget:
FY 2014
SUBSIDY: $8,000,000  
ADMINISTRATION: $1,599,204
FY 2015
SUBSIDY: $8,000,000 
ADMINISTRATION: $1,599,204
Executive Budget TOTAL: $19,198,408 – an 11.5% increase over current biennium

House Budget:
FY 2014 
SUBSIDY: $8,850,000
ADMINISTRATION: $1,599,204
FY 2015
SUBSIDY: $8,850,000
ADMINISTRATION:$1,599, 204
House Budget TOTAL: $20,998,408 – an additional $1.7 million added to Executive Budget 
  
Senate Budget
FY 2014
SUBSIDY: $9,700,000
ADMINISTRATION: $1,599,204
EQUIPMENT: $50,000
FY 2015
SUBSIDY: $9,700,000
ADMINISTRATION: $1,599,204
EQUIPMENT: $50,000
Senate Budget TOTAL: $22,698,408 – an additional $1.8 million added to the House version of the Budget

The budget now moves to its last and most critical stage.  This week the House and Senate will set up a Committee on Conference to resolve the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget.  The Governor is an informal participant in this process.  The aim is to have one version of the budget that can pass both the House and Senate and be signed into law by the Governor by July 1, 2013.  Note also, Ohio’s Governors have powerful line item veto authority. 
 
ACTION:  WE MUST CONTACT ALL OF OUR LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR AND LET THEM KNOW OF OUR GRATITUDE FOR THE PROGRESS WE HAVE MADE SO FAR.  THEY HAVE GONE A LONG WAY BOTH IN THE CURRENT BUDGET AND THE PROPOSAL FOR THE NEXT BIENNIUM TO MAKE UP FOR THE DISASTROUS 47% CUT THE OAC RECEIVED IN THE LAST BIENNIUM, UNDER THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION.  WHILE THANKING THE GOVERNOR AND YOUR HOUSE AND SENATE MEMBERS, PLEASE ASK THEM TO CONSIDER THE LARGEST POSSIBLE APPROPRIATION FOR THE OAC IN THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE REPORT. 
 
IT IS NO ACCIDENT THAT THE GOVERNOR, HOUSE, AND SENATE HAVE ALL RECOGNIZED THE TREMENDOUS CONTRIBUTION THE ARTS MAKE TO THE PEOPLE AND ECONOMY OF THE STATE OF OHIO AND THE NEED FOR INCREASED PUBLIC SUPPORT.  IT IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE THOUSANDS OF CONTACTS MADE BY YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.  WE MUST INCREASE OUR ACTIVITY FOR THESE LAST FEW WEEKS TO SEE THAT THERE IS NO REDUCTION IN THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE AND THE GOVERNOR SUPPORTS THE FINAL FIGURE. 
 
PLEASE LET US KNOW OF YOUR CONTACTS AND ANY HELP OR INFORMATION YOU NEED FROM US.  

Act Now:  Simply click on the link at the bottom of this page and you can easily be in touch with the Governor, and your House and Senate members.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this action alert. Every contact is critical and needed.  In addition to taking action right now, we encourage you to be in personal contact with your legislators to reinforce the ideas you share in your email (or letter) today.

If you are not a member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts we invite you to join today!  Visit the membership tab on our website at: www.OhioCitizensForTheArts.org

Together we are making a positive difference for the arts in Ohio!

William P. Blair
Legislative Counsel

Ohio Citizens for the Arts
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