Updated: As most Midwest states cut, arts funding in Illinois stays steady

As most Midwest states cut

The budget passed by the General Assembly on May 31 essentially flat-funds the Illinois Arts Council in fiscal year 2012. It appropriates $9 million from the General Revenue Fund to the Council -- compared to the $9.5 million invested in fiscal year 2011.

What does the budget mean for the arts?

  • Illinois will invest 70 cents per person in the Illinois Arts Council. The state invested 74 cents per person in fiscal year 2011 and ranked 27th in the nation in per-capita spending on the arts. Illinois ranks 28th in the nation in 2012
  • The Illinois Arts Council is still more than $10 million away from its fiscal year 2007 funding level, when the state invested $19.8 million in the agency. Since then, Illinois has cut its investment in the Council close to 50 percent
  • Investment in the Illinois Arts Council is significantly less than .05 percent (or one-half of one-tenth of one percent) of the total state budget -- even with steep cuts in state spending overall

Here's how things are shaping up in other Midwest states:

  • Governor Sam Brownback zeroed out the Kansas Arts Commission, making it the first state ever to eliminate its arts agency and costing Kansas citizens over one million in matching federal funds
  • In the Wisconsin legislature, the finance committee approved a 66 percent cut to the Wisconsin Arts Board -- Governor Scott Walker was pushing for 73 percent -- and the agency will transfer to the Department of Tourism and lose six of its ten staff members
  • After an almost three-week shutdown of state government, Minnesota passed a budget for fiscal year that includes a 10 percent cut to the Minnesota Arts Board (down from the 20 percent proposed originally). Now Minnesotans are fighting the possible diversion of funds from the Legacy Amendment, a landmark initiative passed in 2008 that channels sales tax revenue to the outdoors, clean water, parks, and the arts, to pay for a football stadium