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Save CIB arts funding

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An effort is under way to try and retain CIB arts funding that could be cut if the state legislature passes the governor's plan fro reform of the CIB. It's worth remembering the $1 million in arts funding that would be cut under this plan is a lot of money for the arts locally, but it doesn't scratch the surface of the CIB's real fiscal problems -- its $47 million deficit. Retaining arts funding will not adversely affect the CIB reform plan, but losing that funding will be a major hit for the arts.

The message below is from the Arts Council's Greg Charleston...

Most of you have probably seen or read the Governor's and the Mayor's joint proposal announced yesterday related to the CIB funding situation. The announced plan includes $27 million in expense reductions and an additional $20 million raised by increasing Marion County's hotel, admissions (on sports facilities) and rental car taxes. They also propose expanding the city's professional sports development area to include the new JW Mariott hotel. The CIB would no longer exist under the proposal and would be merged with the Marion County Building Authority to create a new entity, the Facilities Management Board of Marion County, which will operate 13 facilities within the city and have a 10-member board.

The proposed expense reductions includes the $1 million in arts funding, as previously suspended by the CIB. We are working with the CIB, the administration, state legislators, city councilors, and our colleagues at Barnes and Thornburg to retain this funding. We are also continuing to work on future arts funding alternatives. Now is the time to let state legislators know that arts funding needs to be included as part of the CIB solution. We should remind the administration and state legislators that the City County Council issued a bi-partisan statement that included the following:

"The Council feels strongly that any proposal needs to consider two economic development engines that are vital to the region. First is the hospitality industry that is so important to our positioning as a convention destination. Second are the arts, which is important from a quality of life perspective. There is strong sentiment on the Council that the solution for the CIB must include funding for the arts."

When there are specific opportunities for testimony, we will let you know. The State Legislature will convene next week to begin discussion of the budget bill, which includes this CIB proposal. In the meantime, we are working to revise the 2009 City grant distribution list to reflect the reductions from CIB; we hope to have some resolution by July 1. Thanks for all your efforts.

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