On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker signed the Fiscal Year 2023 budget package. The Illinois General Assembly had passed the package during an April 8-9 all-nighter that wrapped up the legislative session.
This budget package includes some important wins for arts and culture. Here’s an analysis:
$50 Million for Creative Sector Recovery
Utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, the budget contains $50 million dedicated to Illinois’ creative sector. Best news is, the bill (now law!) is unambiguous:
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 (p. 812).
Arts Alliance is grateful to the many Illinois Creative Future Fund partners who advocated for this vital support. This funding is unprecedented in its scale and focus on our sector. While it isn’t the full amount we asked for, it is on par with two other major sectors that received relief dollars: restaurants also received $50 million, and hotels received $75 million.
So, the 50 million dollar question: how can you get access to these relief funds? A new initiative called the Illinois Creative Recovery Grant Program will be administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). All $50 million applies to FY23, which begins July 1, 2022, and DCEO may adopt emergency rules to help move the funds more quickly to our sector.
Many key details of this grant program have yet to be determined, and we know the details of how this grant program is administered will be crucial. We are working closely with DCEO to ensure the needs of the creative field are met.
The budget package includes other significant wins specific to the creative sector:
Live Theater Production
The budget package, which includes tax provisions, doubles the amount available in FY23 for Live Theater Production Tax Credits. This is a “first come, first served” program, so this increase will mean more businesses will be able to get this tax credit, which supports for-profit productions that are long-run or pre-Broadway.
Film Production & Workforce
The budget package also expands the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit, effective July 1, 2022, and establishes the Illinois Production Workforce Development Fund. DCEO will administer the fund, providing grants to qualified training programs, especially those that create employment pathways for minorities and women. Hats off to the Illinois Production Alliance and its coalition partners for leading the charge for this important legislation!
Arts Capital Funding
The budget includes over $80 million in arts and culture capital re-appropriations and appropriations, covering a diverse array of projects across the state.
Illinois Arts Council Agency
The Illinois Arts Council Agency’s annual state funding is approximately $13.7 million, which is on par with what they received in last year’s budget.
Other Beneficial Provisions
In addition to the arts-specific wins outlined above, the budget package includes several provisions that will benefit nonprofit arts and culture organizations, creative businesses, and individual artists:
- Grants for tourism attraction development [$15 million]
- Investments in economic and community development programs centered on workforce development, entrepreneurship support, and business attraction and retention [$70 million]
- Grants to nonprofits for security measures to protect against hate crimes [$20 million]
- One-year suspension of the state’s one percent tax on groceries [$400 million]
- Six-month pause on the scheduled 2.2 cents/gallon increase in the gas tax [$70 million]
- One-time income tax rebate of $50/individual and $100/dependent, up to three children per family, with income limits of $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for joint filers [$685 million]
- Permanent expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, targeting relief to low- and moderate-income Illinoisans by increasing the credit’s amount and number of households covered [$100 million]
- $350 million increase in support (“Evidence-Based Funding”) for the state’s most inequitably funded K-12 schools, funding that can open the door to more arts education.
Earlier in session, the Governor signed legislation that directed $2.7 billion, the bulk of Illinois’ approximately $4.0 billion in remaining ARPA funds, to cover a portion of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund’s massive debt. This move will benefit our sector to the extent that reducing the shortfall staves off potential tax increases on arts employers and potential benefit cuts to creative workers.
Last but certainly not least, a shout-out to the Illinois Association for Music Therapy. On the last day of session, the House and Senate also passed a bill promoting professional quality in music therapy by establishing a system of licensure for music therapists and inclusion of music therapy in health and education programs funded by the state.
In total, the budget package amounts to 4,915 pages. Arts Alliance will continue to analyze the legislative details in the weeks ahead.
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