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        State Updates - Campaign to Voice Opposition to Significant Program Changes at the CAC

        Legislative & Budget Updates

        November 28, 2023 | Julie Baker

        State Updates


        First, we want to thank everyone who took the time to sign the letter to the California Arts Council (CAC) urging them to reconsider proposed changes to field-serving programs. You can read more about the issues we took collective action on and the signed letter at our #FundCAarts webpage.

        Almost 1,400 advocates signed on and your advocacy worked! The committee released an updated memorandum ahead of their Nov. 17th meeting, and their amended proposals and subsequent discussion at that meeting reflect that the council members are listening and responding to the needs of the field. The Notes from the Field meeting summary provides more details on the CAC deliberations as they design next year’s grant programs.

        For those tracking this process, please let us know how proposed changes to CAC grant programs may positively or negatively affect your work or organization by emailing our Director of Field Engagement, Tracy Hudak at

        CAA understands difficult decisions need to be made based on the limited funds available to the agency and yet we firmly believe that the CAC, one of the only statewide funders for arts and culture, should remain an agency that serves the entire ecosystem including all regions, all budget size organizations, and all artists and culture bearers across the state. We know that what is most needed now is multi year general operating support. We recommend that instead of offering new programs at this time of the agency’s transition, the council focuses on expanding the general operating support category. 

        We look forward to working in partnership with the Council and the arts sector to advocate for increased funding for the agency while also contributing the field’s perspective on best practices for equitable grantmaking and a thorough review of grant guidelines, application and reporting questions and the panel process.

        Legislative News

        In a letter dated November 21, Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas has announced appointments to standing committees. Below are excerpts from the letter that highlight committees we interact with for creative industries advocacy. If you have a strong relationship with any of the newly appointed chairs, live or work in their districts or want to strengthen your strategy to advocate directly, please contact Tracy Hudak, Director of Field Engagement.


        Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Tourism 

        I have appointed Assemblymember Mike Gipson to replace Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva as Chair of the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Tourism Committee. 


        Assemblymember Buffy Wicks will replace Assemblymember Chris Holden as Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


        I have appointed Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel to replace Assemblymember Phil Ting as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. I have also appointed Assemblymembers Sharon Quirk-Silva and Avelino Valencia to the committee.. 

        Natural Resources 

        I have appointed Assemblymember Isaac Bryan to replace Assemblymember Luz Rivas as Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Assemblymember Luz Rivas has been removed from the committee. 

        Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on State Administration 

        I have appointed Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva as Chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on State Administration.

        Budget News

        Every year, CAA works to influence the California budget process to invest more in artists and the creative workforce. With that, we keep a close eye on state budget forecasting so we understand the climate in which we are operating. Due to state income tax filing extensions until November 16, the outlook for the budget forecast for 2024 - 25 is still unknown. 

        However, we do know that in October, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee, “The department projected that, because of an unprecedented six-month extension in the state’s tax filing deadline earlier this year, California would collect $42 billion in October. That figure represented nearly a quarter of this fiscal year’s total projected personal income tax and a third of the corporation tax. But, as of Oct. 25, California collected just $18 billion, according to new disclosures from the agency. Should the revenue collected and tallied by the state in the coming weeks fail to catch up to its forecasts, Newsom and lawmakers will need to fill a wider budget gap than anticipated next year.” Stay tuned for updates as the news continues to unfold.

        What’s Next for CAC Advocacy - Partnering and Campaigning for a $20M Increase

        We are working in partnership closely with CAC council members and staff to inform each other of the needs of the field and to identify state policy changes that might help improve agency function and better support their work. And we are knowledge-sharing and building coalitions between arts services organizations to better understand their role in strengthening the arts ecosystem. Stay tuned!

        But the single biggest difference we can make as advocates is to increase funding levels to the CAC. The state funds the agency at $26M a year, which ranks California 32nd in the nation in per capita state spending on the arts. This low level of investment is not commensurate with the outsized impact that arts, culture and creativity have on our communities and economy. This is why we submitted a Letter to the Governor on October 20, 2023, urging him to include a $20M increase to that funding in his January budget. CAA will be launching campaigns in the coming months and we will need your help. 

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