The 84th Legislative Session ended on June 1, 2015 and we are pleased to share that the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) base funding of $6,669,614 was included in the initial budget bills - HB 1 and SB 2 in January and the final approved budget in June – a positive sign that we wouldn’t be in defensive mode! Two minor attempts in the House to re-appropriate some of the TCA's funds to other issues failed quickly on the House floor.
We worked long and hard on a significant new appropriation for the TCA’s designated Cultural & Fine Arts Districts. The final Conference Committee Budget Report in late May included $10 million in new funding. However, within the purview of his office, the Governor vetoed 1/2 of the appropriation citing “A fiscally conservative approach to governing requires limiting the rate of growth in state spending. Funding for cultural tourism grants would be substantially increased from $1.3 million in FY 2014-2015 to $11.3 million in FY 2016-2017. I therefore object to and disapprove of one year of this appropriation.” The Governor then signed the General Appropriation's Bill on June 20th which included both the TCA's base funding and the new $5 million. Before the new appropriation is available for granting, the new funds must be certified by the Comptroller and we hope to have that certification by September 1st. We will keep you apprised of the outcome of these efforts.
- TFA supported the Texas Hotel Lodging Association's important efforts to monitor local bills that would impact Municipal Hotel Occupany Tax (HOT) funds. None were passed this session that impacted the up-to-15% allowable to fund the arts at the municipal level.
TFA worked with Preservation Texas to support the State Historic Tax Credit HB 3230 which will expand the definition of costs and expenses eligible for the franchise tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures to include those incurred by non-profit entities. This is very positive news for nonprofits that own historic properties and seek to raise funds to restore and preserve them.
- Did you know that the arts generate $5.1 BILLION for the Texas economy? That the arts contribute nearly $320 MILLION in state sales tax? That at-risk high school students who complete more than one art class are half as likely to drop out? These and other dynamic data reflect the power of the arts to grow the economy of Texas and help students succeed! Check out the Texas Cultural Trust’s 2015 "Invest in the Arts" study here!
Special thanks to the students of MIS 374 at the McCombs Business School of the University of Texas at Austin for building this site!