(Boston, MA) – The Legislature approved a final budget plan today that increases annual funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences through the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) by close to $1 million.
The fiscal year 2015 budget allocates $12 million for MCC. If the Governor signs it, the budget will allow MCC to bolster its existing grant programs for nonprofit cultural organizations, local cultural councils, schools and creative youth development; and launch new, community music and universal design initiatives.
The vote came after a coalition including MCC, MASSCreative, Mass Humanities,Mass Artists Leaders Coalition, and advocates across the state, successfully urged members of a legislative conference committee to support the higher, Senate budget figure of $12 million for MCC. The conference committee was led by Ways & Means Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Stephen Brewer of Barre and Rep. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, and issued its report on Sunday that was then approved by the House and Senate today.
MCC Executive Director Anita Walker thanked the conference committee members along with Senate President Therese Murray of Plymouth, Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg of Amherst, House Speaker Robert DeLeo of Winthrop, members of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and many others who supported MCC and its constituents through the budget process.
Walker noted that the entire state appropriation for MCC will come from the General Fund, the main source of financial support for core state government services. Since the recession, the Governor and Legislature have relied on annual, $3 million transfers to MCC from MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public real estate development arm. The FY15 budget promises to end that arrangement and place MCC back on more solid fiscal footing for future years.
“With the help of thousands of passionate advocates across the state, we continue to move forward to rebuild state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences,” said MCC Executive Director Anita Walker. “We’re deeply grateful to the Legislature for providing additional resources to support the cultural sector amid many demands on state funding.”