JOIN US TO SUPPORT THE ARTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE!
The arts are important for the education of our children, the vitality of our towns and cities, the health of our economy, and the enjoyment of our citizens. NH Citizens for the Arts invites you to join us as an advocate for appropriate government investment in the arts: to create an atmosphere where the arts can flourish, and to strengthen opportunities for participation in the arts across our state. This web site will give you up-to-date information on legislation affecting the arts, and tools to become an effective advocate.
FEBRUARY 19, 2013: ADVOCACY UPDATE — HOUSE ED&A COMMITTEE VOTES UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST HB 561.
On Tuesday, February 19, the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee (ED&A) voted 17-0 that House Bill 561, which sought to abolish the Department of Cultural Resources, was Inexpedient To Legislate (ITL). This vote recommends to the full House of Representatives that the bill be killed. HB 561, marked ITL, will appear on the Consent Agenda at the next meeting of the full House, Wednesday, Feb. 27.
ED&A Committee member Rep. Carol McGuire (R-Epsom) stated that once the Secretary of State’s office testified that the bill would not save any money, it was not worth pursuing. She commented that, besides, the Dept. of Cultural Resources is well run.
Thanks to all who contacted their legislators, attended the committee hearing and testified eloquently and effectively in opposition to the bill! We are optimistic that the recommendation of ED&A will be upheld by the House.
FEBRUARY 8, 2013: UPDATE — HOUSE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION CTTEE HEARING ON HB 561, FEBRUARY 5.
There was a wonderful turnout by supporters of the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) on Tuesday, February 5, at the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee (ED&A) hearing on House Bill 561: to Abolish the Department of Cultural Resources.
ED&A Chair Lucy Weber opened the meeting saying the committee had already received numerous emails in opposition to the Bill. The Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R, Manchester 8), was the only person who spoke for the Bill.
Fourteen people testified against the bill and 60 additional people signed in as opposing the bill. (Two people signed in favor.)
With standing room only, the ED&A Committee heard concise testimony, all focused on the importance of public funding for the arts (see excerpts below).
What’s Next?: The ED&A Committee will hold an Executive Session to consider the Bill most likely during the week of Feb. 18. At this session, committee members talk among themselves about the legislation; there is no public testimony although the public may attend.
The Committee makes a recommendation to the full House of Representatives as to how the House should vote on this bill. Their recommendations are generally one of the following: Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL); Ought to Pass (OTP); Ought to Pass with Amendment (OTP W/Am); or to retain the bill for more work.
At this point, we are hoping for an ITL recommendation, with the bill going for a floor vote either Wednesday, February 20, or the following Wednesday.
We imagine Rep. Vaillancourt will make an effort to have the House overturn the ED&A Committee recommendation. We will let you know if further work is needed to reach out to individual legislators.
A summary of some key points by testifiers against HB 561 at the February 5th hearing:
–Former Representative William Belvin: When he was on the House Finance Committee last year, they determined that any projected savings in the bill were “ephemeral.”
–Sen. Martha Fuller Clark: “The arts are a tremendous economic driver to a community,” giving examples in Portsmouth. In addition to direct funding, cultural organizations receive important “guidance and support” from the Arts Council and the DCR. The bill is “ill-advised and short-sighted.”
– Representative Peter Ramsey: Cited the economic impact of the Palace Theatre (which served 150,000 patrons last year) and other Manchester cultural organizations. Cultural offerings are a tourist draw, with tourism being the 2nd largest revenue generator in the state’s economy. “NH is a cultural heritage state.”
–Steve Duprey, Duprey Companies, Concord: His hotels and conference center generate more than $1.5 million in taxes—much of his revenue is from tourists visiting cultural sites. ”The “state’s small investment [in the DCR and the Arts Council] pays huge dividends.”
–Commissioner Van McLeod, Dept. of Cultural Resources: Emphasized the collaboration of the DCR with other state offices, and stressed the role of the DCR in building community.
–Jeanine Tousignant, Manchester Community Music School: Gave impressive statistics for the economic value of the Manchester Community Music School, and its outreach to under-served students through financial assistance and special programs. In addition to funding, Arts Council grants provide a “Seal of Approval” that helps with approach to other donors. Cited the important role of DCR as a convener. Arts and culture organizations as a group are the 8th largest employers in Manchester.
–Chris Williams, Nashua Chamber of Commerce: Cultural offerings attract workers by contributing to a high quality of life; young professionals especially want great things to do on the weekends.
–David Scanlan, Deputy Secretary of State: They looked carefully at this bill last year. Their office probably would not have the expertise to take on the State Library and Division of Historical Resources, and would have to add staff, providing no monetary savings.
–Marek Bennett: Introduced himself as a self-employed comic artist, and described his work in schools (through the Arts Council’s Arts-in-Ed roster program),1783 and the value of art in teaching students other concepts (e.g. history and math). Cited the language in Article 83 of the State Constitution: “It shall be the duty of the legislators…in all future periods of this government…to encourage public and private institutions…for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history….”
–Tim Sink, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce: “30% of job creation in the [Concord] region is due to the creative sector.” Cited some of the statistics in the Arts Council’s AFTA economic impact survey. Passing this Bill would be “penny-wise and pound foolish.”
–Lori Fisher, Past Pres. of the NH Library Association: The State Library administers $1.3 million in federal grants that help serve NH’s 234 public libraries, which disseminate knowledge across the state. The DCR fosters collaboration and cooperation across many sectors.
–Greg Pittman, Dir. of Campground Owners of NH, Northwood: Campers are attracted to cultural offerings as well as the natural beauties of NH. The leadership of the DCR raises consciousness of NH’s rich heritage.
–Henry Veilleux, NH Lodging and Restaurant Association: Arts and culture are “an important part of the ‘product’ called New Hampshire.”
–Maggie Stier, Chair, NH Preservation Alliance: The Division of Historical Resources in the DCR provides an important regulatory and advisory role in the preservation and protection of the historical character of NH. The DCR encourages collaboration among State agencies.
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TO WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ON THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE (or a letter to the Committee as a whole, if you don’t have a Rep on the Committee). Below is a sample letter and a list of contact emails for ED&A Committee members.
SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE or THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE
PLEASE REMEMBER: USE THIS LETTER ONLY AS A TEMPLATE. Do not cut and paste, but tailor it so that your message is personal. Again, if you don’t have a Representative on the Committee, please email your letter to the Committee as a Whole.
The Honorable [Insert your Rep]
NH House ED&A Committee
Dear Representative [XX]:
I write you to express my concern regarding passage of House Bill 561, a bill that would abolish the NH Department of Cultural Resources (DCR). I ask that you vote against passage of this legislation.
If the DCR is dismantled, there will no longer be a qualified state entity to administer state- and federally-funded arts grants and services. NH needs the infrastructure in place to provide equal access to the arts to students, families, artists and consumers in every region across the state. Abolishing the DCR and de-funding the Arts Council also means that NH will lose access to federal matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, which could amount to between $600,000 and $1,000,000 in 2013.
The Department of Cultural Affairs is good for NH and it helps keep the arts strong in our State. For instance: 1) the arts create jobs and produce tax revenue. Astrong arts sector is an economic asset that stimulates business activity, attracts tourism, retains a high-quality work force and stabilizes property values. 2) The arts foster young imaginations and develop creative minds, important for a productive 21st century workforce. 3) The arts are a civic catalyst, supporting strong democracy and a desirable quality of life, engaging citizens in civic discourse, and encouraging collective problem-solving. 4) The arts embody our cultural legacy, preserving the heritage, traditions and culture of NH. 5) The State Arts Council administers funds and provides services to support activities in all of these areas, without bias, and focused on access for all citizens regardless of income, region, abilities or ethnicity.
Because it uses public revenue, the State can invest in arts initiatives that the private sector may not think has direct and expedient economic returns. It is in our enlightened self-interest to keep a strong state infrastructure for investing in the arts and leveraging private-sector and federal support for state-supported arts programs
I urge you to vote against the passage of HB 561. Thank you for the work you do on behalf of the State and for your interest in this important issue.
Sincerely, Your name and address
To send your letter to the ED&A Committee, cut and paste this address into your email: HouseExecutiveDepartmentsandAdministration@leg.state.nh.us
Use the link below to find Members of the House Executive Departments and Administration Committee (and to see if you’ve got a Representative on the Committee):
ARTS & ECONOMIC PROSPERITY IV SURVEY RESULTS
September 2012: View the Survey Findings and Report here.
SURVEY CONCLUSIONS: Based on the responses to the survey, the nonprofit arts and cultural sector is an important economic engine. It represents more than a 115.1 million dollar industry in NH, which supports 3,493 full-time equivalent jobs and generates 11.6 million dollars in local and state government revenue. Nonprofit arts and culture organizations spend $53 million annually, and leverage a remarkable 62.1 million dollar in additional spending by their audiences—spending that pumps vital revenue into local restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other businesses.
By demonstrating that investing in the arts and culture yields economic benefits, the Survey lays to rest a common misperception that communities support the arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, the state and NH communities are investing in an industry that creates and supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism. This report shows conclusively that the arts mean business!
The project was made possible through generous funding from Tom Putnam and the Putnam Foundation.
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