Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Big Ask, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I informed you that circumstances in Washington were unfolding in a way that necessitated an increase next year in the Vermont Arts Council’s state appropriation.  Having attended two national arts conferences since then, I want to provide some clarity to this situation, as it has many moving parts.

Our best estimate at this time is that, due to the “Sequestration” following last year’s Debt Ceiling compromise and the uncertainty over the budget negotiations for FY2014, the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) Federal grant to the Council will be almost 10% less (reducing it to about $655,000) next year than it is this year.

We, however, remain optimistic, that between now and May 2013, White House and Congressional negotiations will minimize or even eliminate that reduction.

Therefore, without boring everyone to tears with complex arithmetic related to calculating how the State will meet the one-to-one match required by the NEA, which is sure to change in any case, our “minimum” requested increase from the State for next year is actually a range: from $175,000 to $250,000.  Being clever people, we suggested that people focus on the upper end of the range when talking with their legislators or the Governor.  (Bear in mind that the actual increase we have requested is $500,000 of which the $250,000 will allow us to avoid “leaving Federal money on the table.”)

All of this is meant to convey that the funding situation is complex, dependent on many moving parts of which most are pretty much dependent on what happens in Washington in the next couple of weeks.

Confused?  You are not alone.  We will give you more information as it develops.

For information about how YOU can help get this budget increase to pass, please read my previous blog entry.

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