Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Texas Legislature Budget Hearings: Arts Update (No Improvement)

Received from the Texas Commission on the Arts, March 8The Burning of the Theatre in Richmond

(illustration provided by

March 8, 2011
TCA Legislative Update

The 82nd Texas Legislature continues in Austin and the Texas Commission on the Arts has been involved in several meetings of interest to constituents.

On February 24th, TCA went before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. TCA thanked the Subcommittee for the support demonstrated for the agency in HB1, the House Appropriations Bill. HB1 is the House version of the Texas state budget.

TCA also requested the Subcommittee reinstate several items to the proposed budget. These include:

- Restoration of funding for TCA’s contract for systems programming services which supports TCA’s online grants system.
- Restoration of five Full Time Employees and their salaries. Positions include 2 Program Administrators, 1 Program Assistant, Webmaster, and Director of Communications.
- An additional $2 million for the Arts Create grant category.

On Monday, February 28th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government met to discuss their recommendations to the full House Appropriations Committee. TCA’s request for the restoration of items into the budget was not included and no changes were made to the original recommendations in HB1.

HB1 recommendations remain as originally reported:

- Budget reduction of approximately 50% as compared to the last biennium (this includes the grants budget)
- Reduction of 30% of TCA staff (a loss of 5 staff positions)
- Elimination of funding for advertising, promotion and cultural tourism
- Elimination of the contract for TCA's online grant system
- Reduction of 40% to TCA's travel budget

On Monday, March 7th, TCA went before the Senate Finance Committee. SB1, the Senate version of the appropriations bill, matches the recommendations in HB1 (see above). TCA again requested reinstatement of the grants system contract and the 5 Full Time Employee positions, as well as $2 million for Arts Create grants.

Public testimony was provided by representatives of Texans for the Arts, the Texas Cultural Trust, and the Texas Travel Industry Association.

TCA will continue to provide updates on the legislative process. In the meantime, questions should be directed to Gary Gibbs, TCA executive director, at or Gaye Greever McElwain, TCA director of communications at

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