Contact Your Senators Today
November 4, 2021 – Mass Humanities is grateful to our many supporters who contacted members of the Massachusetts House of Representative last week. We hope you can join us again as the legislative process continues.
Next week, the Massachusetts Senate will convene to consider S. 2564, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs, released by the Senate Ways & Means Committee as a $3.67 billion spending plan investing federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and FY21 state revenue surplus funds into key economic sectors. The Committee’s plan provides $75 million to be granted by Mass Cultural Council to provide pandemic relief to the Commonwealth’s cultural and tourism assets. At Mass Humanities, we believe the cultural sector is a vital part of the recovery from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. We appreciate the Senate’s support.
However, the bill allocates $50 million less for the cultural sector than the spending plan passed by the Massachusetts House last week, which provides $125 million for Mass Cultural Council. Fortunately, State Senator Ed Kennedy, Co-Chair of the Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, has filed Amendment #2 to increase the appropriation to $200 million. We join our partners at Mass Cultural Council and MASSCreative in thanking Sen. Kennedy for his leadership at this pivotal time.
Once the Senate concludes its debate, a Conference Committee will be formed to negotiate a final, compromise bill, by deciding how to handle any differences contained within the final House and Senate bills. The legislative session concludes November 17.
Please contact your state senator today to ask them for their support of this crucial legislation.
Before the pandemic, arts, humanities and cultural nonprofits generated over $2.3 billion in spending, brought in nearly $100 million in state tax revenues, and supported more than 73,000 full time jobs. A larger look at the cultural sector shows that pre-COVID the arts and cultural sector in Massachusetts accounted for 4.3% of the Commonwealth’s GDP and 142,578 jobs.
We believe this funding will strengthen the capacity of humanities organizations across Massachusetts to rebuild and develop new ways to serve their communities.