Arts Advocacy Update
On November 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY2024 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 4821), one of 12 appropriations (funding) bills that should be passed every fiscal year by Congress to fund the federal government. The bill provides FY2024 funding for all of the federal arts and cultural-related agencies, excluding funding for arts education programs implemented by the U.S. Department of Education. Arts education funding is included in Labor, HHS, and Education appropriations legislation.
Unfortunately, the House-passed bill decreases non-defense discretionary funding at $25.4 billion, which is $13.4 billion below FY2023 enacted funding levels and $21.4 billion below the President’s FY2024 budget request. What that means for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is that both of those agencies would receive $186.3 million each for the remainder of FY2024, a $20.7 million below FY2023 enacted funding levels and about $6.3 million more than both agencies received for FY2022. Here is an NEA appropriations history. The bill passed the U.S. House by a vote of 213-203. You can find out how your U.S. Representatives voted HERE. There were also two amendments below that failed that would have eliminated funding for both federal agencies:
Amendment #60 (NEA) 292 Nay to 129 Yea – amendment not adopted.
Amendment #61 (NEH) 292 Nay to 132 Yea – amendment not adopted.
The good news is that the U.S. Senate is still considering its own FY2024 Interior appropriations bill. Please urge your U.S. Senators to support “at least” $207 million for the NEA and NEH pursuant to the President’s FY2024 budget request. You can use this OPERA America action alert to quickly and effectively communicate with your U.S. Senators. Please also thank your U.S. Representatives via email, social media, and/or in person who voted in opposition to the House amendments that would have eliminated NEA and NEH funding.
The performing arts sector continues to face various challenges coming out of the pandemic, including modest ticket sales, and any decrease in federal support will exacerbate these challenges. This is also evidenced in the latest arts and cultural sector economic impact report released by the NEA and U.S. Department of Commerce (March 2023) that specifically highlights that performing arts organizations, including opera companies, have not returned to pre-pandemic levels even though total economic value added by arts and cultural industries grew by 13.7 percent from 2020-2021. The NEA is the only arts funder in the United States—public or private—that provides access to the arts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. jurisdictions.
Congress needs to act by November 17 when a temporary federal government funding bill expires. We need your voice! Thank you in advance!
Please Urge Your U.S. Representatives and Senators to Pass Increased Incentives for Charitable Giving
OPERA America is an active member of the Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC) which is aggressively advocating for passage of bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. House and Senate to reestablish and increase federal incentives for charitable giving. The legislation, the Charitable Act (H.R. 3435/S. 566), will reestablish and increase the universal, non-itemized charitable deduction to about $4500 for individuals and about $9000 for joint filers and married couples. The prior non-itemized deduction - $300 for individuals and $600 for joint filers and married couples – ended on December 31, 2021. Here is a CGC one-pager about the legislation and here is information on how the non-itemized deduction has increased charitable giving between 2020-2021.
The CGC is sending another signatory support letter from interested stakeholder organizations to U.S. House and Senate leadership (similar to a letter sent on May 17, 2023) to pass the bi-partisan legislation in conjunction with Giving Tuesday on November 28, 2023. OPERA America encourages its members to sign the support letter as well no later than Friday, November 17. Please review the CGC options below.
By the deadline of Friday, November 17, please do one of the following:
If your organization would like to be listed on the new letter, and you signed the May 17, 2023 letter, you are all set. There is nothing you need to do.
If your organization DOES NOT want to be listed on this new Giving Tuesday letter as a supporter of the Charitable Act, please complete the form below by Friday, November 17, 5 pm ET, here: OPT Out of CGC Giving Tuesday Charitable Act Support Letter