In response to deteriorating economic conditions, the State of
I appreciate the foresight it takes for people working in the public interest to cut costs and manage expectations in the face of a
How does this happen? Don’t the budgeting pros know that every budget has an expense side and an income side? Don’t they know that some agencies’ impact is almost entirely on the income side of the budget, and that cutting their costs is, in effect, hurting the state’s ability to enhance its revenue? When are the Budget and Finance “experts” going to understand the relationship between the work that, say, the Tourism Dept., Parks and Recreation, the Film Commission, and the Arts Council does to market Vermont (including its products, services, culture and creative industries) and the State’s revenue?
A large portion of the state’s revenue comes from income tax. So what, you might ask, does the Arts Council have to do with job creation? If you ask people like Paul Millman of Chroma Technology who located his business in
I think it goes even further.
I believe that the health of a community’s cultural sector is the best indicator of a community’s economic health and quality of life. The quality of schools is another great indicator. And if you have schools with great arts programs, you have achieved the “Quality of Life” trifecta because all three (schools, arts sector, and economy) are mutually dependent.
All of these attributes attract and retain businesses. And even when some businesses fail, these communities tend to weather it well enough to enable workers to reorganize, and create new businesses out of the ashes of the old.
It seems a bit short-sighted to me to be looking for a few thousand dollars here and there from these “revenue-enhancing” engines of state government, when the only sure result will be lower State revenue.
The next time the state’s revenue exceeds expectations by a significant margin, I’m going to suggest to the revenue forecasters that they find out why. I would love to know, once and for all, just how much does our state’s revenue depend on the health of its arts and cultural sector. I suspect it’s a lot more than people think. If that realization holds true, then maybe next time there is an economic downturn, the administration will actually INVEST money in the arts and cultural sector, not take it away!