The Governor and legislative leaders have reached an agreement on the FY23 budget, including how the remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds will be spent. The specific language of that agreement has now been released. It is House Bill 969, House Floor Amendment 3 (HB969ham03).
The agreement contains $50 million in relief and recovery grants dedicated to the creative sector through the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).
While this is less than what we’ve been advocating for, it is still significant funding that is dedicated to our sector. The amount is also on par with relief given to other (quite powerful) sectors, namely, $50 million for restaurants and $75 million for hotels.
The bill has not yet passed, and we never consider legislation a “done deal” until the governor signs it. As the agreement makes its way through the House and Senate today, it is possible that other versions could be introduced, especially for adjustment purposes, but it is highly unlikely that the above numbers (or other major items) will change. The General Assembly is expected to pass the budget later today or tonight.
Below is additional context, along with the bill’s language pertaining to our creative sector relief.
Article 138, Section 435. The sum of $50,000,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary is appropriated from the State Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Fund to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the relief and recovery of the creative sector; including grants to independent live venue operators, performing or presenting arts organizations, arts education organizations, and museums or cultural heritage organizations for costs incurred due to business interruption or other adverse impacts of COVID-19 for purposes permitted by Section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and related federal guidance.” (p.770) – Not yet passed.
Where did much of the money go? Using the budget surplus, the agreement includes a ton of (mostly temporary) tax breaks, totaling $1.8 billion, far higher than the $1 billion initially proposed by the governor. Examples of the tax breaks include a six-month suspension of the scheduled increase (2.2 cents/gal) in the gas tax; one-year suspension of the grocery tax; direct tax rebates similar to stimulus checks; and many more tax break provisions.
Earlier, the Governor signed legislation that directed $2.7 billion, the majority of the state’s $3.5 billion in remaining ARPA funds, to help cover state debt, notably, the unemployment trust fund debt. The FY23 agreement uses ARPA dollars to support programs in violence prevention, public safety, human services, and other areas, in addition to sector relief. I’m still going through the bill in detail to learn more about the appropriation of the funds.
The FY23 budget agreement would give the Illinois Arts Council Agency essentially level state funding for the year: $13.5 million in state general revenue funds.
Arts Alliance Illinois
Deputy Director of Civic Engagement