California Governor Wants to Slash Arts Funding

California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for 2015-16 could see taxpayers’ investment in the arts slashed to $1.1 million, the LA Times reports. The plans represent a potential $5 million dollar drop, compared to last year’s budget.

Governor Brown’s overall investment in the California Arts Council, the agency responsible for distributing grants to the state’s non-profit arts organizations and public schools, would then total $4.9 million, with the majority of the money coming from federal sources or donations.

The proposed $1.1 million arts budget represents one-thousandth percent of the total $113.3 billion California budget, putting the state amongst the bottom in per-capita government arts spending in the US: about 13 cents in arts spending per California resident.

“It’s more than slightly absurd, and it’s extremely frustrating, given what the arts and entertainment economies do [for California],” assemblyman Adrin Nazarian told the LA Times.

But Richard Stein, president of California Arts Advocates, a private nonprofit arts lobbying group, remains optimistic. “The kinds of things we’re hearing from elected officials indicate they would like to build arts [expenditures] up to a level more appropriate to the pride we take in the state’s premier role [in the arts]” he told the LA Times. “We’re very optimistic that there will be another increase this year,” he added.

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