Thursday, July 2, 2009

I received this email today!

Dear Quincy Community Theatre,


Today marks the start of the new fiscal year in Illinois.  Unfortunately, this is the third year in a row that the State begins the fiscal year without a solid operating budget in place. 

 In this special update, we explore where things stand with the budget negotiations in Springfield.

While the outcome of the state budget is uncertain, the need for continued arts advocacy is clear.  As activists across the state step up their efforts, we must continue to make our voices heard too.

Please act now and urge your elected officials to stand up for the arts by passing a responsible state budget.

Without further action on the budget, state funding for the arts will be drastically reduced.

To protect the arts infrastructure in Illinois, it's going to take all of us working together.  

As things stand, state funding for the arts and arts education is in limbo.

In a message to Illinois Arts Council grantees on June 12, Shirley Madigan and Terry Scrogum, Chairman and Executive Director of the Arts Council respectively, highlighted how a bare-bones budget would impact the Council: "Due to the General Assembly's failure to approve the revenue plan proposed by Governor Quinn, the State of Illinois will no longer be able to provide grants for ArtsTour, Youth Employment, Literary Awards, Master/Apprentice, Open Deadline, and the Public Radio and Television stations operating grants."  All remaining granting programs could expect funding cuts of 75%.

We must continue to make our voices heard too.  The arts are a proven investment in our economy and workforce-creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and attracting tourists and new investments.

Since May-when we first alerted you to the catastrophic cuts facing the arts and arts education-arts advocates from across the state have generated more than 6,200 emails, letters, and calls to legislators.

In addition, the Arts Alliance:
  • Alerted the media to the devastating effect of a "doomsday" budget on the arts and arts education
LegislatorsRespondingLegislators Responding to Arts Advocates

As a result of your efforts, lawmakers across the state are reaffirming their support for the arts and arts education. Your efforts are making a difference.

Here's what state legislators are saying:

From Senator Heather Steans (D-7-Chicago), who received 222 messages from arts advocates since May and voted for a sensible budget solution: "Arts funding offers jobs, after school programs, free public programs, and educational programs that benefit our community.  I am worried that cuts to these programs will worsen our economic situation by cutting jobs and lessen community safety by removing some of the few programs that provide youth in my district with something positive to do after school.  I will be fighting to keep these programs funded."

From Representative Naomi D. Jakobsson (D-103- Champaign), who received 55 messages from arts advocates since May and also supported a responsible budget solution: "The arts play an important role in educating our children, adding to our local economy, and enhancing our communities.  I am proud to represent an arts rich district in Champaign County and I will be fighting to ensure that funds for the arts are not cut."

"As budget negotiations continue, it's important that elected officials hear from the people they represent," Representative Jakobsson continued.  "There's no better way for us to understand community views and opinions than to hear directly from the people of the district."

The General Assembly is expected to return to Springfield on July 14.  As news on the state budget becomes available, the Arts Alliance will keep you informed.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact either Ra Joy or 312-855-3105 x14 or Scarlett Swerdlow at or 312-855-3105 x13.

Many thanks for all you do,

Ra Joy

Executive Director

Illinois Arts Alliance

312-855-3105 x14 

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