2013 Legislative Agenda

2013 Legislative Agenda

To meet the needs for a culturally rich and diverse state as well as the demands for an educated and creative workforce, Texans for the Arts together with the Texas Cultural Trust advocated for the development and implementation of statewide public policy that supported strong and vibrant arts, cultural and creative industries.

Texans for the Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust congratulate the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) for the legislative successes of 2013:

  1. An increase in the Texas Commission on the Arts appropriation 71% over the previous annual budget to $6,655.828 per year for the next biennium;
  2. Negotiation of the TCA Sunset Reauthorization.  Governor Perry signed SB 202 on May 18, 2013, continuing the TCA as an independent agency for another 12 years;
  3. Passed HB 2718 related to TCA’s cultural and fine arts district program to extend program eligibility to TCA-designated Cultural Districts allowing them to apply for state incentives, funding, grants and loans from other state agencies.

These achievements were based on the legislative priorities set for the 83rd legislative session which included:

  1. Protect the current provisions of the Texas Tax Code regarding the authorized use of municipal hotel occupancy tax that supports tourism, the hotel and convention industry by the encouragement, promotion, improvement, and application of the arts, in all its forms, as well as those disciplines referred to as the creative industries.
  2. Pass authorization for the continuation of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) for 12 more years as recommended by Sunset Advisory Commission staff and insure that there is sufficient appropriation to allow the TCA to continue its mission of advancing our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas.  Specifically:
  3. Appropriate a level of funding and restoration of 2 staff positions to allow the continuation of investments that support arts education programming and provide core support to cultural institutions statewide and allow it to receive and pass on substantial matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  4. Alongside the Texas Travel Industry Association, support a restoration of the Cultural Tourism appropriation to adequately discharge its mandated requirement to promote cultural tourism within the state as these funds spark economic development in local communities and provide jobs for small businesses while preserving our Texas culture for future generations.
  5. Support the release and appropriation of prior years’ accumulated State of the Arts license plate fees of approximately $600,000 for TCA to distribute through its various grant programs.
  6. In coalition with the Texas Cultural Trust, support an appropriation, of new funds, that adds funding to the Cultural District program, established by HB2208 79th (R) – thus allowing staffing support, infrastructure support, marketing budgets and event underwriting thereby allowing these unique districts to bolster their support of local economic development and enhance cultural tourism to their community.

Texans for the Arts supported other legislative actions that had a direct impact on the state’s arts industry. TFA identified the following secondary priorities for our advocacy efforts in 2013:

  1. Monitor and oppose any legislation that would further reduce arts funding beyond that outlined in SB1.
  2. Monitor and oppose any legislation that would remove or reduce the current arts credit requirements for high school graduation that include one art credit during middle school and one art credit at the secondary school level.
  3. Monitor legislative action that impacts the nonprofit sector, such as tax exemptions, regulatory efforts, etc.