State Budget to Include Additional, One-Time Funding Allocations to the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona State Parks

A message from Mark Feldman, Chairman, Arizona Commission on the Arts

Dear arts and culture colleagues, patrons and advocates:

Yesterday evening, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law an $8.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2014 (starting July 1, 2013). On behalf of the Arts Commission’s staff and Governor-appointed Commissioners, I am pleased to share that this budget includes additional one-time allocations to the Arizona Commission on the Arts and Arizona State Parks.

The allocations took shape in an amendment which assigns an additional $1 million to each agency for FY2014. Approved by actions in the State Senate and House, the amendment puts the interest from the state’s Rainy Day fund to work as an investment in the arts and culture sector, a significant contributor to the state’s livability, economic health and competitiveness.

This successful bipartisan effort was led by arts and culture champion, State Senator Steve Farley, with strong support from State Senators John McComish, Steve Pierce and Michele Reagan, and State Representatives Ethan Orr, Karen Fann, Kate Brophy McGee and Bob Robson, among others. Due to their support, the state arts budget will not show a decrease for the first time in 5 fiscal years.

The following is a statement from Senator Steve Farley, on the inclusion of the amendment in the state’s FY2014 budget:

“Today we celebrate a huge victory for all Arizona citizens who treasure our Arizona heritage, landscapes and creative spirit. In past years, the Arts Commission and our State Parks Board willingly sacrificed their budgets and endowments in order to help us with our recent budget crises. Now we can begin to restore some of that sacrifice so that our state can benefit from their programs once again.

This policy does not increase overall state spending because the funds are derived from interest earned by the Rainy Day fund – which would otherwise have lain dormant, doing nothing for our economy. Instead, the money will be invested in Arizona’s small towns and big cities, leveraging private funds to create a huge positive impact on rural and urban communities while boosting the whole state’s economy.

Huge thanks go to Governor Jan Brewer, Senators John McComish and Steve Pierce, and Representatives Ethan Orr and Karen Fann for their special efforts to make this part of the adopted budget. Many other Senators and Representatives from both parties played important roles by offering their support in key ways throughout this session.

The return on this small investment will be a renewed energy for the Arizona Comeback, driven by the determined entrepreneurial spirit of our arts community and parks stewards and visitors. I look forward to the fruits of this powerful alliance for years to come.”

This landmark funding will be applied to the Arts Commission’s statewide grantmaking activities, which catalyze nonprofit arts organizations, community groups and schools to provide opportunities for Arizonans to participate in and experience the arts. New funding will not be applied to agency operations.

We are delighted to share this news with you. On the heels of this success, the Arts Commission’s staff and Commissioners look forward to a creative, productive new fiscal year.

In service,

Mark Feldman