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        2024-25 Governor’s January Budget Proposal

        Legislative & Budget Updates

        January 11, 2024 | Julie Baker

        Every January, the Governor announces the budget proposal by January 10. While the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has been predicting a $68 billion deficit, the administration suggests a more conservative $38 billion deficit. Governor Newsom unveiled yesterday how he proposes to manage the deficit, preserve key programs and balance the budget. He called it “a story of correction, a story of normalization after a period of a tremendous amount of distortion.” (source Cal Matters)

        For arts advocates to note, the CA budget over the last several years included a lot of one-time funds for arts and culture as an influx of federal funds and a robust economy produced a confluence of unprecedented opportunities. The lobbying efforts of CAA and our partners resulted in unprecedented investments, including over $300 million of relief dollars to our sector, funding for new programs such as $60 million for the CA Creative Corps, $10 million for cultural districts, $25 million for arts in the parks, $40 million investment in creative youth development and $11.5 million for the implementation of SB 1116, Equitable Payroll Fund. 

        What we see in the 24-25 budget proposal is a return to baseline levels for the California Arts Council (CAC) without any one-time funds for specific programs or increases to local assistance funds. Overall the agency’s budget for grants is proposed to be around $32 million with $8 million of that specifically earmarked for the Arts in Corrections program which has moved into the CAC’s general operating budget as a grant program (it was previously an inter agency agreement with CA Dept of Corrections with state contracts and not grants). In October of 2023, CAA sent a letter to the Governor urging him to increase the baseline funding to the agency by $20 million, as $26 million in baseline funding for a state of approximately 40 million people means while California drives the biggest sub-national arts and culture economy in the world, our state’’s investment of just $0.67 per person falls far behind Florida’s per capita investment oft $2.71. Unfortunately, due to the budget deficit, an increase to the CAC was not proposed in the Governor’s budget yesterday. In 24-25, CAA will continue to educate lawmakers to why the agency needs more funding, but we anticipate this will be a difficult year to realize any increases and, as the budget process unfolds, we may even need to protect the agency’s current appropriation. We will continue to update the field throughout the year.

        The budget process begins in January but now goes to the Legislature to make its recommendations and proposals and negotiations until June 15 when the Legislature must pass a budget for the Governor to sign or veto (see here for the budget process). Arts advocates have an opportunity to influence the budget process by meeting with their state legislators on April 17 for arts advocacy day in Sacramento and sharing why public funding for the arts is necessary and critical for community development, economic vitality and social wellbeing. 

        In addition, CAA will be monitoring legislation that affects our sector including ticketing bills, AI, workforce development, affordable housing and more while also monitoring implementation of SB 1116, AB 812 and equitable distribution of what is now proposed to be limited funds for the CAC.

        Finally, CAA is pleased to join the creative economy working group under the California Arts Council, a $1 million initiative that CAA proposed last year in our lobbying efforts and thanks to leadership in the Legislature and Administration made it into the final budget. This is a critical opportunity for the state to not only learn about how the creative economy ecosystem functions but to build a strategic plan to ensure a healthy and vital creative workforce can thrive in California for generations to come.

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