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    Posted February 14, 2007

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Americans for the Arts Urge "Take Action" to Increase NEA Funding

On February 6, 2007, President Bush sent his FY 2008 budget request to Congress, beginning the yearly appropriations process for the nation's cultural agencies and programs, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Office of Museum Services (OMS), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and the Department of Education's Arts in Education programs.

For the first time in three years, the President has initiated a proposed increase of 3.2 percent for the NEA, which would bring it to a total of $128.4 million. The Administration's request for an increase is its first since 2005, and therefore is a step in the right direction. Moreover, it comes in the wake of strong signals from both parties in Congress that a funding increase is needed. Nevertheless, our government is significantly under-investing in the NEA, which used to receive much greater funding: in fact, in 1992, the NEA received $176 million. Americans for the Arts urges Congress to return NEA funding to its former level as quickly as possible.

The President asked for a 1.4 percent increase for the NEH, to $143 million. An increase of this size would not make up for the effects of inflation.

For the seventh consecutive year, the President's budget has eliminated funding for the Department of Education's Arts in Education programs, which include funding for model arts programs and collaborations with schools, teacher professional development, and arts programs for at-risk youth. Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch responded to the Administration's budget request with the following statement:

"It disappointing to see the Administration propose zeroing out funding for the seventh consecutive year to the Department of Education's arts education programs. One of the best ways to nurture creativity, a necessity to prepare for a 21st-century workforce, is to have children learn and actively participate in the arts. The Administration needs to understand the role of arts education in developing an innovative and creative society. Studies show that students who participate in the arts are not only more likely to participate in a math and science fair but also out-perform their peers on the SATs by 103 points."

Also, the FY 2008 budget request calls for a cut of $50 million in already-approved funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). As a trusted community resource, CPB uses the power of noncommercial television and radio to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services.

Take Action to Increase NEA Funding by visiting: www.americansforthearts.org/




 
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