Letter from Randall Forte, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

On May 24, 2011 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB 1485 (known as thebudget bill) which included a 70% reduction to the grants to arts line item as well as a 62% reduction to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) administrative budget.  

In response to this action, Randall Forte, the Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council wrote this message to all of its members:

Let’s do the math

It’s time for arts advocates to raise their voices (and calculators) in support of keeping state arts funding at the current level of $8.262 million, as recommended by Governor Corbett. Pennsylvania legislators are meeting now to pass the budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 and House Bill 1485 is proposing to cut the budget for the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts to $2.5 million. A 70% reduction would deliver a serious blow to the Lehigh Valley’s cultural community and to future state tax revenues.For starters, the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit arts industry is a tremendous source of tax revenue for the Commonwealth. According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity III study (2007), the Lehigh Valley’s nonprofit arts industry has an economic impact of $169.11 million annually and generates $11.1 million in state tax revenues alone. Let’s do the math: Thirty-one Lehigh Valley nonprofit cultural organizations now receive $350,000 annually from the PCA while the Lehigh Valley nonprofit arts industry generates $11.1 million annually in state tax revenues. That equates to a 3,180 % return on the state’s investment! The legislature is acting penny-wise and pound foolish.The PCA and the 700 nonprofit arts groups it funds sustained a huge cut in FY2009-10, when their budget was reduced from $14.5 million to $8.262. Any further reduction would jeopardize the health of the nonprofit arts industry as it struggles to recover from the economic recession of the past few years. This situation is urgent and needs your immediate attention!

  1. Call your state representative NOW and tell him/her that funding the PCA at the levels set by Gov. Corbett in March is a priority of yours and ask for a reply. Those levels are $8.262 million for grants to the arts and $500,000 for the Council on the Arts. Contact information may be found at http://capwiz.com/artsusa/pa by typing your zipcode in the box at the top of the page.
  2. Sign our petition and Help Secure Funding for the Arts!

The arts won’t be mentioned unless you tell your legislators it is a priority with you.There is strength in numbers! Add your voice.

Randall Forte
Executive Director
Lehigh Valley Arts Council

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