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As part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, the IRA Charitable Rollover was extended through 2011, and legislation has been introduced to make this important charitable giving incentive permanent. The Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2011, S.557, introduced by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and the companion House bill, H.R. 2502, introduced by Reps. Walter Herger (R-CA-2) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-3) will not only make the incentive permanent but expand it, lifting the $100,000 charitable gift limit and allowing for certain giving to begin as early as age 59 1/2. Continued advocacy to members of Congress can help encourage legislators to support this legislation.

Action: Visit the Performing Arts Alliance website, which provides details on this important tax provision and offers the opportunity to communicate with Members of Congress to urge them to support this charitable giving incentive.

In mid-July, TCG joined with the Performing Arts Alliance and its member organizations and signed an open letter from Independent Sector, a broad coalition of not-for-profit organizations, urging President Obama and Congressional leaders to protect the income tax deduction to 501(c)(3) organizations as they negotiated the debt limit and deficit reduction deal. The letter was delivered to the Administration and Congressional leaders and was published in Politico on July 18. Tax changes are not included in the initial phase of the debt and deficit deal but may be included in the recommendations that come from the joint committee that is charged with finding additional savings.

When members of Congress return in September, the full Congress will be focused on tax and budget matters including consideration of proposals that put at risk the income tax deduction to 501(c)(3) organizations. Charitable giving incentives are critical to the health of not-for-profit organizations, including the not-for-profit arts, and support the valuable community services provided by the full range of not-for-profit organizations.

Action: Contact your members of Congress to urge support for the charitable deduction! Click here to contact your elected officials and communicate the value of this important charitable giving incentive. Visit Independent Sector’s website for background materials, talking points and the latest information on protecting the charitable deduction.

This week the House has been debating the House Interior Appropriations Bill which includes funding for the NEA. On Monday, July 25, the House defeated, by a vote of 284-126, an Amendment introduced by Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS-1) which would have eliminated all funding for the NEA. This Amendment was put forth on behalf of the Republican Study Committee and it included many cuts in the Interior Bill.

On July 27, the House debated an Amendment introduced by Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI-7) which would decrease the NEA’s FY12 appropriation by $10 million over the $20 million cut already included in the Appropriations Bill. There were passionate and inspiring Floor speeches by Representative James Moran (D-VA-8), Ranking Member of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee; Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Mike Simpson (R-ID-2); Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY-28); Representative David Cicilline (D-RI-1); Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA-6); Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY-3); Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ-12); Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) and Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN-3). You are urged to thank these elected officials.

The Amendment to further cut the NEA failed in a recorded vote 240-181 with 55 Republicans and 185 Democrats voting against the cut. The Interior Bill itself has not yet been voted on, and further amendments could still be introduced. Your voices have most certainly been heard!

Action: Visit the House website to watch videos of all of the Floor Speeches (make sure to click on July 27, 2011). The Walberg Amendment is introduced at 10:29:00 and Chairman Simpson speaks at 10:43:00 and his remarks reference the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. A transcript of these Floor Speeches is available here.

NEA Announces Inaugural Our Town Grants

July 28, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

The NEA has announced the inaugural round of “Our Town” funding, totaling $6.575 million in grants to 51 communities in 34 states that have created public-private partnerships to strengthen the arts while shaping the social, physical and economic characters of their neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions. Our Town grants range from $25,000 to $250,000 and [...]

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NEA Announces New Research on the Value Added By Cultural Industries

July 28, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

Cultural industries are economic powerhouses and states have the data to prove it, according to a new analysis from the NEA. Drawing on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Arts and the GDP: Value Added by Selected Cultural Industries is a new NEA research note that examines the value added by three selected cultural [...]

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NASAA Report Previews 2012 Legislative Appropriations

July 28, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) has announced the release of the State Arts Agency Fiscal Year 2012 Legislative Appropriations Preview report. This document summarizes how state arts agencies fared during this year’s budget deliberations and includes information on the appropriations each state arts agency expects to receive for FY2012. Action: Click here [...]

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NEA Announces New Research on Artist Employment Projections Through 2018

July 27, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

The NEA looks at future job prospects for a variety of artist occupations in Artist Employment Projections through 2018, which examines the projected growth rate for artist occupations through 2018. The NEA note explores expected trends for more than a dozen artist and cultural occupations, including designers, writers, fine and multimedia artists, archivists, architects, camera [...]

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NEA Theatre Grants: Art Works

July 18, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

The NEA supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement, lifelong learning and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Within these areas, innovative projects are strongly encouraged. Grants are available in a variety of categories including theatre, musical theatre, literature and arts education. Within these areas, innovative projects [...]

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NEA Webinars: The Arts in Media

July 12, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

The NEA is conducting webinars which will provide an overview of the guidelines for the new The Arts in Media grant opportunities. Following the presentation, NEA staff will be available to answer any questions. The next two webinars will be held July 13 and August 10 from 2–3pm Eastern time. Action: Visit the NEA to [...]

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House of Representatives Set to Vote to Eliminate Arts in Education

June 29, 2011 Advocacy from TCG & PAA

In the coming weeks, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would eliminate the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education. H.R. 1891, the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act, would eliminate 43 federal education programs, including the Arts in Education program that funds newly emerging [...]

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