Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Illinois Governor Tries to Slash Arts Funding

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This message from the Executive Director of the Illinois Arts Alliance needs to be acted on by you if you are an Illinois Resident. The Illinois Theatre Association and my own local arts agency, The Buchanan Center for the Arts will see major budget shortfalls if these 35% cuts are allowed to stand in the Illinois Arts Council's 2008 budget.


Governor's Budget Slashes Funding for the Arts
A chorus of voices is needed to restore state's investment in the arts and arts education!
Dear Friend in the Arts,
We must act now to send a powerful message to Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senate President Emil Jones, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and other state lawmakers that the arts are not pork!
The Governor’s FY08 spending plan calls for a dramatic 35% cut (over $7 million) to the Illinois Arts Council (IAC) budget. This decrease in funding will undoubtedly have a devastating impact to the arts statewide and significantly reduce the funds available for IAC grant programs. Furthermore, the Governor completely eliminated the Arts and Foreign Language grant program through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
This dangerous decision will have very negative implications for all the people of Illinois. Support from the Illinois Arts Council is crucial to the success of artists, arts organizations, and entities providing arts programming throughout the state. Strategic investments made by the Illinois Arts Council to community theaters, dance studios, schools, local festivals, libraries, museums, and park districts enhance our overall quality of life and have a significant impact on the economic health and vitality of the state - creating jobs, boosting tourism, and revitalizing downtowns.
The budget approved by the legislature on August 10, 2007 would have increased the Illinois Arts Council's budget by $3.6 million from last year’s budget level and brought us very close to our goal: a budget of $24 million for the Illinois Arts Council, or $2 per person, per year in Illinois. The budget also would have increased the Arts and Foreign Language grant program at ISBE to over $6 million in FY08 to assist school districts in providing valuable arts and foreign language programming.
The Illinois Arts Alliance is moving forward with an aggressive campaign to restore full funding for the Illinois Arts Council and arts and foreign language education funding at the Illinois State Board of Education. We NEED your help now more than ever before!
Please tell Governor Blagojevich, senate and house leadership, and your state lawmakers TODAY how essential the arts are to you and your community. We have made it extremely easy for you to effectively advocate for the arts. Here is what we are asking you to do:
1) Write two letters to lawmakers using the talking points provided in the links below
a. One requesting that funding for the Illinois Arts Council be restored to $23.2 million as proposed by the General Assembly on August 10, 2007
Click Here: http://capwiz.com/artsusa/il/issues/alert/?alertid=10235401&type=ML&show_alert=1
b. The other urging lawmakers to restore funding to the Arts and Foreign Language grant program through the Illinois State Board of Education. Click Here: http://capwiz.com/artsusa/il/issues/alert/?alertid=10235931&type=ML&show_alert=1
2) Make two phone calls to the numbers listed below expressing your concern with the proposed budget cuts to the arts and urging that funding be fully restored for the Illinois Arts Council and the Illinois State Board of Education’s Arts and Foreign Language grant program.
a) Ginger Ostro
Budget Director for Governors Office of Management and Budget
Ginger.ostro@illinois.gov
312-814-0023
b) Governor Rod Blagojevich
312-814-2121 (Chicago) OR 217-558-0880 (Springfield)
While the road ahead is rocky, together we can restore full funding for the arts in Illinois! Should you have any questions or concerns please contact me at 312-855-3105 ext 14 or email joy@artsalliance.org
Sincerely,
Ra Joy
Executive Director
Illinois Arts Alliance

1 comment:

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