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

Legislative Agendas

Marking the work of the 86th Texas Legislature - January - May 2019 Texans for the Arts is honored to have led the legislative strategy in the 86th Texas Legislative Session that led to the largest single increase and the largest total budget for the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) in the state agency's history. (The TCA was established in 1965).

The final budget approved in the 86th for the Texas Commission on the Arts is $16,443,083 for 2019-2020 and $11,493,038 for 2020-2021. These funds include a restoration of $5 million initially appropriated in the 84th Session and cut in the 85th Session, and an additional increase of $5 million for a total of $10 million for the TCA's Cultural District grant program, and a new $250,000 for the TCA's Arts Respond grants that expressly fund programs that use the arts as a means for healing in working with veterans and active duty service men and women and their families.  
Texans for the Arts would like to give a particular shout out to Chairman Jane Nelson, Chair of Senate Finance Committee and Chairman John Zerwas, Chair of House Appropriations Committee, (and both leading the Conference Committee) in addition to a "thank you" to all of the legislators and their staffs who worked with us on this effort, all of our member organizations and individuals who support our work year round, to the Texas Cultural Trust for the important use of the "State of the Arts/Invest in the Arts" economic impact analysis and for providing testimony and advocacy support throughout the session, to all of the attendees at Texans for the Arts Foundation's 2019 Arts Advocacy Day who made over 80 legislative visits, and to the other arts leaders who traveled across the state to testify at House Appropriation and Senate Finance Committee hearings. It has taken ongoing work over the past 19 months to build a strong advocacy case for increasing the state's investment in the arts.
These funds will make a significant difference in the Texas Commission on the Arts' capacity to reach even more citizens across the state with dynamic, engaging, thoughtful and community enriching cultural and arts programming. 
In addition to our funding efforts for the Texas Commission on the Arts', Texans for the Arts helped initiate SB1319, the County HOT Transparency Bill. This bill would have required County leadership to submit annual reports to the Texas Comptroller of County HOT % and receipts from across the state some % of which is eligible for arts and cultural tourism funding. While the bill passed in both the House and Senate it got vetoed by the Governor at the 11th hour due to an unrelated amendment attached to the bill. We would like to thank Senator Brian Birdwell, and our partnership with Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, for their support in trying to ensure the passage of this bill.  We will start fresh in the 87th Session with a revised version and try again!

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