Texas Arts Advocacy Day 2019, Austin. Photo credit: Matt Stryker

2015 Legislative Agenda

84th Legislative Session

Texans for the Arts will advocate for the development and implementation of statewide public policy that supports a strong and vibrant arts and cultural industry and access to arts education for students across Texas.

Texans for the Arts Legislative Priorities for the 84th Legislative Session are to:

1. Ensure that Texas legislators understand the importance of the arts in sustaining our vibrant Texas economy and in educating our children through access to vital economic and education research commissioned by the Texas Cultural Trust and produced by Texas Perspectives.*

2. Inform Texas legislators about the breadth and depth of arts related industries and the economic impact in their own legislative districts through communication from local constituents, including artists, arts organizations, civic, community and business leaders, employers, philanthropists, hoteliers and tourism employees, and more.

3. Continue to support the education community’s work in concert with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to ensure the Arts are seen as a basic component of a well-rounded education and that current arts curriculum graduation requirements remain part of the state mandate and to work to expand student access to arts curricula.

4. In partnership with the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, continue to support the current provisions of the Texas Tax Code regarding the authorized use of the municipal hotel occupancy taxes that support tourism and the hotel and convention industry by the encouragement, promotion, improvement and application of the arts in all forms, including those disciplines referred to as the creative industries. Local governments can continue to allocate Municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax to promote and encourage the arts and further Texas’ economic creative industries and its national reputation as a lively, dynamic and thriving cultural tourism destination.

5. Secure funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts legislative appropriations request including exceptional items and support for HB 1, which includes the base appropriation amount. [The TCA successfully passed Sunset review in 2013 and was reauthorized as an independent agency for the next 12 years (SB 202).]

According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), Texas ranks 45th out of the 50 states in per capita funding for the arts. Texas spends $0.21 per capita as compared to an average of $1.15 for all state arts agencies. Minnesota leads the states with $6.31 in per capita arts funding; neighboring states support as follows: Arkansas - $1.32; Oklahoma - $0.98; New Mexico - $0.71; and Louisiana - $0.66.

6. Monitor legislative action that impacts the nonprofit sector, such as tax exemptions, regulatory efforts, etc.

* * * * *

The principles of TFA's 84th Legislative Session Agenda are supported by research conducted on the economic and educational impact of the arts in Texas:   The Arts in Texas Mean Business – The Arts and Culture Industry fuels the Texas Economy. 

In January 2015, a study was released commissioned by the Texas Cultural Trust and produced by Texas Perspectives, entitled ‘2015 State of the Arts: Invest in the Arts. The Arts Perform’. This study confirmed that the Arts and Culture Industry plays an important role in a dynamic and diversified state economy. In the last decade alone, Arts and Cultural Industries added more than 24.6% growth to the Texas’ economy, including millions of dollars generated locally through sales tax revenue. The Arts and Culture Industry makes a significant contribution to sales tax revenue, tourism and economic growth.*

Arts and Culture Activities in Texas generate:
• $ 5.1 BILLION in taxable sales per year
• nearly $318.5 MILLION in sales tax revenue in 2013

• $32.5 million in local sales tax revenue in 2013 for the five largest metro areas in Texas
• Texas’ creative sector currently employs nearly 730,000 innovation workers. (Almost 1 in 15 Texas workers are employed in creative occupation jobs, with forecasts to increase by 22.2% by 2022.)
• The 10,000 Arts and Culture Industry businesses located throughout Texas employ nearly 120,000 workers.
• Travel and Tourism spending in Texas surpassed $67.5 billion in 2013, with arts and culture a major reason tourists come to Texas.
• In 2013, an estimated 13.8 % (or 1 in 7) of all travelers participated in arts and cultural events in Texas.
• Arts & Culture tourists on average spend more and stay longer.

Texas Must Lead in Supporting the Creative Arts in Schools.
Creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, innovation and problem-solving skills are essential to prepare our children for the future. The arts are the key component in teaching each of these skills in our schools and they contribute to direct, positive school outcomes for Texas students.
• Students who completed more art course credits while in middle or high school had higher attendance rates.
• Texas high school students engaged in the arts had a 3.3% greater attendance rate – the equivalent of attending an additional week of school.
• Students who completed more arts courses performed better on state assessments, across all subjects.
• High school students engaged in the arts outperformed their peers on meeting the commended standard by more than 15% across all subjects.
• High school students engaged in the arts had lower dropout rates, greater graduation rates and greater rates of enrollment in higher education.
• At-risk high school students who complete more than one art class are half as likely to drop out.
• 80% of Texas voters support increased funding for the arts in schools.

Multiple studies have found arts education strongly and positively impacts both academic and personal success across socio economic groups, especially among disadvantaged populations. Studies have also found a substantial overlap between the skills required for innovative occupations and the skills fostered by K-12 arts curriculum.


* Texas Cultural Trust: “2015 State of the Arts: Invest in the Arts. The Arts Perform’” is available at www.txculturaltrust.org

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