Archive for the Ah Arizona... Category

Here’s a study in contrasts that reveals something about the extreme conditions facing the arts and arts organizations these days.

In Minnesota, where governmental arts funding has been flat for the past six years or so, and other forms of support are slowly shrinking (such that most arts organizations that I’m aware of are having financial problems; some severe), lobbyists and advocates have hit on a novel (and controversial) way to prop up the state’s struggling arts orgs: A new constitutional amendment to levy a new sales tax. And even stranger, they’re doing it in partnership with environmental protection advocates.

“This November, the things we treasure here in Minnesota are on the ballot,” said Ken Martin, director of the Vote Yes Minnesota campaign, a coalition of 200 environmental, conservation, outdoors and arts organizations. “This [amendment] will protect our waters, land and way of life. If we don’t act now to protect these great natural and cultural resources, they will be lost forever.”

The theme of the campaign is “Protect the Minnesota you love.” …

“This state is on a directional course that is no longer acceptable,” he said. “We have to convince people that voting for this amendment is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the legacy that we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”

The estimated financial impact on each Minnesota family (because of the 3/8 percent increase in the state sales tax) is estimated at $56 per year. A number of prominent Minnesota figures and politicians have already endorsed the measure, which goes to vote in November.

At the same time, in Arizona, a bill intended to protect arts education from looming budget cuts (along with PE classes), was vetoed last week.

The governor [Janet Napolitano] noted that course cuts already are typically decided upon by local school boards during public meetings. …

Napolitano also called the measure “an empty promise” because it offered no additional state funding to help school districts provide programs teaching the arts, vocational education and PE.

[Bill sponsor Rep. Mark] Anderson countered that the bill had “broad, bipartisan support,” and said its intent was simply to send a message to school districts contemplating course reductions.