Advocacy

ADVOCACY ALERT: The Appropriations Committee will hold public hearings about this budget. Arts and culture fall under the Department of Economic and Community Development, so the relevant hearing is this Tuesday, February 11 in room 2C of the Legislative Office Building beginning at 5pm.

There are two ways to participate in this process:

Testify in person – learn more by clicking HERE and HERE
And/or Submit written testimony – send an email to APPtestimony@cga.ct.gov

It is important to personalize your testimony, but below are our key recommendations for this legislative session.

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In Southeastern CT (New London County), arts and culture:

  • Generate $168 million annually, support 4,460 (FTE) jobs and attract 3.2 million attendees annually
  • Improve quality of life and contribute to Southeastern CT’s economy
  • Create vibrant rural and urban communities
  • Help to attract and retain residents, employers and employees
  • Are a cornerstone to the tourism industry

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Priorities for 2020 Legislative Session (in alignment with CT Arts Alliance)

  • Dedicate and codify 40% to Arts + Culture and 60% to Tourism in the Tourism Fund
  • Change the name from Tourism Fund to Arts, Culture and Tourism Fund
  • Allocate 25% of existing Lodging Tax into the Tourism Fund (compared to current allocation of 10%)
  • Ensure that any excess revenue in the Tourism Fund is appropriated annually and shared equally among all line items, which includes “Arts Commission” (Office of the Arts), “Statewide Tourism Marketing” (Office of Tourism), CT Humanities, and direct line items to arts, cultural and tourism entities and consortiums; do not add new line items
  • Ensure the Administration and legislators consult with CT Arts Alliance and CT Tourism Coalition for decisions that impact the arts, cultural, and tourism industries
  • Encourage the Tourism Fund, as a whole, to have additional and new dedicated revenue sources without increasing the Lodging Tax rate
  • Invite arts-focused legislators to join the Arts, Culture, + Tourism caucus
  • Educate caucus members and legislators about Tourism Fund

Amend draft bill, An Act Concerning Jobs in and Revenue from the Gaming Industry p. 13, line 390 –

Current language: Ten per cent of the gross gaming revenue from the operation of authorized games, except video facsimile games, which shall be deposited in the state-wide tourism marketing account, established pursuant to section 10-395a of the general statutes
Recommended language: Ten per cent of the gross gaming revenue from the operation of authorized games, except video facsimile games, which shall be deposited in the Tourism Fund, established pursuant to section 10-395b of the general statutes;

Letter From the Cultural Coalition to Southeastern CT Delegation Re: An Act Concerning Jobs in and Revenue from the Gaming Industry

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Tourism Fund – The Tourism Fund invests in the Connecticut experience – building vibrant communities, attracting tourists and employers, and boosting our economy.

What is it? The Tourism Fund (TF) is a non-lapsing special fund, separate from the general fund, that is solely funded by a dedicated revenue source.

How is it funded? CT levies a 15% occupancy tax on hotel stays up to 30 days in length. 10% of the total tax revenue collected by DRS is deposited into the TF after every quarter.

What does TF fund? The TF fund invests in arts, culture and tourism through a variety of line items in the budget appropriated by legislators. TF currently funds:

  • CT Office of the Arts (Arts Commission) – *state investment matched by nearly $1M federal National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) dollars
    • Grants to arts and cultural organizations, artists, and community arts projects
    • Statewide initiatives (Arts Workforce Initiative, Arts Day, etc.)
    • Designated Regional Service Organizations
  • CT Office of Tourism (Statewide Tourism Marketing)
    • CTVisit.com, social media, marketing of CT in other states, research and data
    • Statewide initiatives (CT Open House Day, The Big E, Made in CT)
    • Tourism Districts (eastern, central, western)
  • Arts, Cultural & Tourism Direct Line Items (individual organizations and consortiums)
  • CT Humanities – * state investment matched by $800k in federal National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funding
    • Grants and support services for institutions in the humanities, including but not limited to libraries, museums and historical and cultural societies and associations

How does TF benefit CT? The TF investments provide:

  • Operating support to anchor institutions that drive economic and community development and tourism
  • Program and project support to arts and cultural institutions events, community programs, arts education and local arts projects and initiatives that help attract and retain residents, employers and employees
  • Funding to the Office of the Arts and CT Humanities is re-granted through hundreds of competitive grants statewide reaching nearly every municipality
  • Support for the nine Designated Regional Service Organizations to maintain a statewide network of arts and cultural agencies
  • Tourism marketing to position the state as a prime destination for leisure and business travelers

What is unique about TF? Legislators cannot “sweep” funds from TF, unless this was mandated through legislation and TF, like all special funds, is not subject to potential general fund rescissions from the governor

What if there is more or less money in TF? Revenue collection + deposits into the TF are administrative while the spending + budget process are legislative; meaning:

  • The biannual budget is set legislatively based on the estimated size of TF
  • If TF has more or less money than budgeted for an upcoming year, the governor + legislators will decide how to accommodate for that change during budget process

 

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TESTIMONY PROVIDED:

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: Municipal Cultural Districts
Testimony Planning and Dev Comm_Cultural Districts_ SCCC Mar 21 2019

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: Nonprofit Property Tax Exemption
Testimony Planning and Dev Comm_Nonprofit Tax_ SCCC Mar 6 2019 FINAL

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: DECD Funding for Arts & Culture
Testimony Appropriations Comm_SCCC Feb 27 2019 FINAL

Cultural Coalition Action Regarding Comprehensive Tax Reform
SECT_Tax Reform Letter Nov 17.2017

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: DECD Funding for Arts & Culture
SCCC Testimony Governor’s Budget 1.17.2017

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: DECD Funding for CT Humanities
Testimony CT Humanities DECD- SCCC 2017

Cultural Coalition Testimony Re: CT Percent for Art Funding
Testimony SB0373 Percent for Art 2017

 

To view the pdf of our presentation at our February 2017 legislative breakfast, SECT Cultural Coalition- Leg Presentation-Full 2017

To view the pdf of our presentation at our first legislative breakfast in April 2015, SECT Cultural Coalition- Leg Presentation-Full.