Don’t Reduce Funding for Arts Programs

arts funding massachusetts SHIRA SCHOENBERG

Target: Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Brian S. Dempsey

Goal: Safeguard indispensable funding for the arts in Massachusetts by increasing, not decreasing, state subsidies.

The Massachusetts State Legislature recently announced a $4 million cut in arts funding for the 2017 fiscal year. The decrease from $14 million to $10 million will squeeze arts programs into an even tighter financial position. This budget proposal communicates the ultimately skewed priorities of a state government which would rather hand out over $100 million in tax breaks to General Electric than properly sponsor the arts in their own communities.

The Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, should do more to safeguard indispensable funding for the arts in Massachusetts. The committee should increase, not decrease, state subsidies for arts programs.

State officials owe it to their constituencies to emphasize their needs over those of corporations. Slashing funding for the arts while subsidizing corporations like GE, New Balance, and others does exactly the opposite. As rent rises and job opportunities become scarce, Massachusetts residents are becoming fed up with the logic of trickle-down economics. Instead, they want and deserve to see their government putting their high-rate tax contributions to work for programs that actually enrich their lives.

Arts funding strengthens the bonds of communities while supporting individual expression in such a way that is ultimately invaluable. This is why activists throughout the state are demanding an increase, not a decrease, in state funding for the arts from $14 million to $17 million.

Cutting funding from the arts is unnecessary and unfair to the people of Massachusetts. It is up to Rep. Brian S. Dempsey and other members of the House Committee on Ways and Means to reconsider their decision. Sign our petition to demand that funding for the arts in Massachusetts be increased for 2017, not slashed.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Rep. Brian S. Dempsey,

The proposed cuts in arts funding for the fiscal year 2017 are an affront to the residents of Massachusetts. While corporations like GE and New Balance receive millions of dollars in tax breaks and other financial favors from the state, your committee has decided to decrease an already tight budget for arts programs in the state.

This is a mistake. Arts funding is vital to local communities in a way that cannot be adequately measured with economic statistics. Simply put, subsidizing the arts makes people’s lives better.

It is your obligation as an elected official to put prioritize the interests of Massachusetts residents. Arts programs are important to many people from various walks of life. No matter your class, race, or gender, the arts can make a positive impact on your life. There is no reason not to allocate more money toward subsidizing arts programs in the state. Decreasing that funding is even more nonsensical.

$17 million in subsidies for arts programs is what Massachusetts residents want and deserve. Cutting funding for the arts from $14 million to $10 million is the wrong decision. I urge you to increase, not decrease, subsidies for arts programs in Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Shira Schoenberg

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126 Signatures

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