President’s Full Budget Eliminates NEA

On May 23, President Trump released his full FY2018 Budget Plan.

In March, the Administration released their “skinny budget”, laying out overall agency goals and budgetary priorities. In the “skinny budget”, the President called for the elimination of the NEA, among other cultural agencies. President Trump continued that call in his full budget plan released today. In April, Congress passed, and the President signed, a Continuing Resolution that increased the NEA’s budget by $2 million, however that funding is only for this current fiscal year, ending in September.

The chart below details the cuts being made to cultural agencies within the federal government.

*Note: $29 million allocated to fund the shutdown of the NEA, not for operations/grants.

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has a few key reminders in their release today:

“The President’s request is not a binding document, but rather an expression of his priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Congress has the constitutional authority and responsibility to fund programs and agencies. … It is important to note that the decision by Congress to raise the NEA’s funding by $2 million in late April was for FY2017 only, and has no bearing on these deliberations.”

As the Congressional budget process begins, we will keep you posted. As of right now, no committee work has begun, and budget resolutions (legislative language detailing budgets) have not been written. This is a process that will go on all summer and through the early fall. It will be important to stay alert and contact your representatives when needed.

While no member of the South Carolina delegation sits on the subcommittees directly responsible for the NEA’s budget at this stage, contacting your representative now, and throughout the process will keep the arts at the forefront of their minds as they meet with colleagues and make budgetary decisions.

What You Can Do
  • Contact your representatives in Washington and voice your support for the arts and the NEA (below).
  • You can share this news with your friends and colleagues.
  • You can donate to the SCAA to help us continue to fight for the arts.

Click below to go to the online message centers for your Representative and Senator:

Senator Lindsey Graham  |  Senator Tim Scott

Rep. Mark Sanford (SC-1)  |  Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-2)  |  Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3)  |  Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-4)  |  Rep. James Clyburn (SC-6)  |  Rep. Tom Rice (SC-7)

Sample Message:

I am writing you today as your constituent to voice my support for the National Endowment for the Arts, and for all of the arts across America.

On May 23, the President released his full budget proposal which included a total elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the first executive budget proposal that includes total elimination of the NEA since it was formed in 1965. 

This proposal for elimination of the NEA does not reflect my priorities as your constituent. As the budget process begins in Congress, I would urge you to keep these facts in mind and take every opportunity you may have to support the arts in America.

– Eliminating the NEA will not balance the federal budget. The NEA’s budget represents 0.004% of the total federal budget. The arts also return $22.3 billion in tax revenue to federal, state, county and municipal governments. 

– The NEA’s programs address top policy priorities for lawmakers and citizens alike. The NEA helps fund or partners directly on programs that provide service to veterans and active military members and leading community revitalization efforts across the country.

– Arts and culture contribute $704 billion to the US economy, yielding a $24 billion trade surplus, and representing 4.2% of the entire US GDP according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

– 40% of the NEA’s grant funds ($47 million in FY2017) are allocated to states and regions. These allocations help give more flexibility to states, who match these federal funds, to fund arts initatives that address unique trends and issues across the country. South Carolina receives almost $800,000 from the NEA through this partnership each year.

– Last year, South Carolina received over $1,000,000 in grants from the NEA, spread over every Congressional district.

– A solely private funding model will leave too many communities behind. Philanthropic giving as a whole in the United States is geographically disproportional, with rural areas receiving only 5.5% of foundation grant dollars. In many of our rural counties in South Carolina, there is no sustainable philanthropic infrastructure in place to support the important work that arts play in community development. Public funding for the arts plays an essential role in making sure all American communities get their fair share. 

Please be sure to keep my remarks in mind as you and your colleagues work on the FY2018 budget. I will be monitoring it closely and look forward to seeing you take action in support of the arts.