Arts and Culture is Economic Engine that Provides 62,000 Jobs, Generates Almost $300 Million in State and Local Tax Revenues.

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Harrisburg—Senator Larry Farnese today continued fighting for the arts by offering an amendment in committee that would have restored $20 million dollars in funding to the Arts.  The amendment was offered in the Appropriations Committee and was defeated along party lines by a vote of 16 to 10.

“Arts and culture is a job creator and an economic engine for the state and the region,” said Senator Farnese.  “Our state spends relatively little on arts and culture, and in return the sector provides 62,000 jobs and generates almost $300 million dollars in state and local tax revenues.”

Senator Farnese’s amendment restored funding to the level that was originally proposed by the governor in his March budget address but was stripped by Republicans in the House.

Despite huge budget surplus projections of at least $500 million dollars and the governor’s refusal to reasonably tax Marcellus Shale, the Republicans voted to reduce or eliminate funding to major cultural institutions, arts and music education programs, community development projects and to arts and cultural programs across the state.

“The arts provide nuts and bolts improvement in math scores and other skills,” said Robert Welsh, Executive Director of the non-profit Jump Street, based in Harrisburg.  “

The cuts amount to a punitive reduction in museum funding and the granting budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a community focused arts granting agency which helps stimulate Pennsylvania’s creative economy through several key programs.

“Arts and Culture is how Pennsylvania grows,” said Julie Hawkins, Executive Vice President of the Philadelphia Cultural Alliances at a news conference earlier this month in Harrisburg.

“Today’s vote is wrong for Pennsylvania, said Senator Farnese.  “Now is not the time to walk away from our commitments to arts and culture”.

Senator Farnese also introduced in the Appropriations Committee three amendments in committee on behalf of Senator Mike Stack.  These amendments would have used the substantial surplus to restore AdultBasic Insurance to 41,000 Pennsylvanians who are otherwise without health insurance. These amendments were also defeated along party lines.

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