Vital Arts Programs at Risk in State Budget
“The arts contribute $5.5 billion annually to the Texas economy, employ one in 15 Texans and contribute $343.7 million in state sales tax revenue annually. The arts help prepare a well-educated workforce for our 21st Century economy. Yet, the arts are often first on the budgetary chopping block. This is shortsighted.
“Just this session, our lawmakers are proposing to zero out a $5 million competitive grant program for our state’s Cultural Arts Districts, which has successfully helped strengthen local economies, supporting economic development, building local arts programs and attracting more jobs and tourists to communities across the states. Thirty-seven grants were made through the program. A study of four of those grant recipients showed that $500,000 in grant funding contributed to a $21.3 million economic impact – a 426 percent rate of return. If adopted in the final budget, this decision to defund Cultural Arts Districts would create a 34 percent budget cut to the Texas Commission on the Arts and eliminate critical funding sources to communities across the state.
“At the Texas Cultural Trust, we are passionate about spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state – not just on stage or in a gallery, but in business and education as well. Texas’ creative sector employment is projected to increase by 20 percent or 160,000 net new jobs by 2024. But we will not create those jobs if we do not continue to support arts in our schools and in our communities. We call on our lawmakers to recognize the economic, educational and cultural impact of the arts and restore funding to the Cultural Districts program. This small line item has enormous impact in communities across the state.