Wyoming Arts Council

Stimulus package includes $50M for NEA

From a release on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) web site:

On Jan. 15, the U.S. House Democratic leadership released details of an $825 billion economic stimulus package with $275 billion in tax breaks and $550 billion in spending. The proposal includes a $50 million allocation for the National Endowment for the Arts, with the stipulation that 40 percent of such funding be distributed through state and regional arts agencies, the balance to go out in direct grants from the NEA. The proposal further stipulates that all funds must be awarded by September 30, 2010, using existing grant-making procedures.

The Wyoming Arts Council, a NASAA member, receives about 40 percent of its funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The rest is provided by the Wyoming State Legislature. Some special projects are funded by corporate and private donations. See the WAC web site for more details.

The specifics of the proposal announced by the Democratic leaders include an unusual statement of accountability attached to the measure, referred to as “an historic level of transparency.” Among the safeguards, the measure states: “Public notification of funding must include a description of the investment funded, the purpose, the total cost and why the activity should be funded with recovery dollars. Governors, mayors or others making funding decisions must personally certify that the investment has been fully vetted and is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars. This will also be placed on the recovery website….There are no earmarks in this package.”

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