Proposed Cuts and Tax Cap Hurt the Arts
Write the Governor, House Finance Members, and Your Legislators TODAY!!
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Governor Carcieri recently proposed a supplemental FY08 budget and FY09 budget that would hurt the arts community in a number of ways.
Carcieri’s FY08 supplement proposes a 10% cut for all agencies – including the RI State Council for the Arts – as well as a retroactive and prospective cap on the Historic Tax Credits, and phasing them out by 2017. In his proposed FY09 budget, he includes a further cut to the RISCA budget.
All of these actions would create negative effects for the arts and the RI economy. We encourage you to take part in the legislative process and write the Governor, House Finance Members and your legislators about the issues that concern you most. See information below and write a personalized email today!
The 10% cut to all agency budgets has caused RISCA to reappropriate funds and just barely cover the already granted amounts. The rest of the year will be tight and the cuts proposed for FY09 will make things even more difficult for the agency. RISCA and the arts have not been singled out for the FY08 amended cuts. All agencies are receiving cuts of the same percentage.
The Governor’s amended budget for FY08 (current year) suggests capping the redemption of historic tax credits at $20 million in FY08, $40 million beginning in FY09 and proposes a full program sunset by 2017. The historic tax credit program has been crucial to cultural facilities such as AS220’s Dreyfus Hotel, Monohasset Mill, the Plant and the Pawtucket Armory, home of the first arts high school and the Gamm Theatre. A number of cultural facility projects are intended for upcoming years and the $40 million cap threatens arts organizations and artist collaboratives to move forward.
In writing to the Governor, House Finance Members and your legislators today, remind them: The RI State Council for the Arts is responsible for keeping state funds in each community throughout Rhode Island by directly funding our local artists and arts organizations. Through this, every dollar invested in the arts by the state (through RISCA) generates $17 in return. To further this point, Americans for the Arts found in their 2007 Arts and Economic Impact III survey of Providence that the non-profit arts and culture industry generates $111.8 million in economic activity to our capital city, more than twice the national average. More impactful is that this survey does not include the many individual artists living and working in our community who buy locally, hire locally and produce the quality of life that make RI desirable for business and investment.
Further, the Historic Tax Program generates immediate economic results and is a favorable strategy for the long-term growth of our State. A study commissioned by Grow Smart Rhode Island and performed by the real estate consulting firm of Lipman, Frizzell and Mitchell (LF&M) of Columbia, MD revealed that the Rhode Island Tax Credit Program generates more than $5 dollars of economic activity for every $1 dollar invested by the state. According to the report, the program is effective at returning properties to the tax rolls and generating employment and housing in localities where opportunities had been limited. The State’s investment leverages substantial private investment, which otherwise would not have occurred in those localities.
[Two agenda items on Tuesday, February 5th, beginning at 12:00 p.m. in Room 35 of the State House include Article 1 (sections 3-7, beginning on p. 32) including a budget provision to eliminate $26 million from RI Housing’s budget and other agency cuts, and Article 20 (Historic Tax Credit, beginning on p. 102), Governor Carcieri’s proposal to cap the redemption of historic tax credits retroactively and prospectively.]
It is important to recognize the difficult fiscal state our lawmakers face and remind them of the significant economic impact of the arts and programs such as the historic tax credit. Keeping investment grounded in areas of our budget that find strong economic return encourages an upwards spiral out of our economic difficulties.