The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides essential funding to District arts organizations for programs that:
• generate significant income to the city;
• represent tens of thousands of jobs;
• provide a unique and effective conduit to learning and healthcare;
• make our city a world-class cultural arts destination;
• by their very existence, reduce crime; and
• provide a quality of life for District residents.
Funding for the DC Commission has been cut 69.88% from FY 09 to FY 12. In 2009, the Commission received $13,018,000 in local funds and $3,920,000 in 2012.
FY 12 funding for the arts is 0.034% of the total DC budget. In comparison, every year the arts pump more than $700 million into our city’s economy on top of almost $100 million in direct tax revenue. As part of the District’s Development budget, The DC Commission budget represents the highest return on investment of any portion of the Development budget.
The recent series of DC Commission budget cuts have cost the District jobs and tax revenue, as well as our ability to be competitive with other cities to attract commerce and convention traffic, let alone balance the District budget.
As a city of 600,000 residents with 15-20 million tourist visitors per year, the arts industry is a vital partner in each ward and the city’s overall economic development. Yet without sufficient arts funding, we simply will no longer be able to continue to provide these services.