Nea Funding, Tricky Touring Rules, Postal Rates, Arts Advocacy Day (03/25/08)
Arts Advocacy Day 2008
April 1 is national Arts Advocacy Day! The League is a cosponsor of this event, which unifies arts advocates who gather in Washington, D.C. and sets the stage for advocacy throughout the year. You can participate from home by writing to your member of Congress in support of the arts. On the League's Advocacy and Government web pages, learn about a range of issues that impact orchestras, from Arts Education funding to Cultural Exchange programs and tax policy. Click on any of the topics to find our latest issue briefs and key developments.
Remember, some of the most effective advocacy happens right at home, so be sure to note when your members of Congress are on recess and invite them to a performance or arts event.
Contact Congress On April 1
Congress to Consider NEA Funding
On the heels of last year’s $20.3 million increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Congress is set to consider the next funding level for the agency. NEA funding supports the work of orchestras in communities nationwide through direct grants, state allocations, and national initiatives. On April 1, the U.S. House of Representatives will kick off the NEA appropriations process with a hearing on the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts. The League has submitted testimony for the record on behalf of orchestras, calling for an increase in the NEA’s funding from $144.7 million to $176 million, which would restore the agency’s budget to its 1992 level.
This year will bring a shorter-than-usual work period for Congress as it races to adjourn for the elections. Please stay tuned for League alerts notifying orchestras of targeted NEA advocacy opportunities.
Read League NEA Testimony
Draft Rules are Tricky for Touring
In the post-September 11 atmosphere of heightened security, touring orchestras have faced a number of potentially challenging new travel rules, from limits on carry-on items to restrictions on bows made of rare woods. Yet another rule under consideration could place a burden on orchestras touring internationally. In an effort to improve security at our nation’s ports of entry, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is proposing new, potentially cumbersome documentation requirements for all items shipped by cargo. While the draft rule would apply only to cargo shipped by sea-going vessels, DHS aims to eventually extend the rule to cargo shipped by air and ground. The League has submitted comments calling on U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that new rules will not hamper international cultural exchange.
Read League Comments to DHS
Nonprofit Postage Rates to Increase
The Postal Service has announced an increase in rates beginning May 12, 2008. Standard Mail Nonprofit Regular Flats will actually decrease by an average of 1.2%, which may provide relief to nonprofit organizations that experienced a substantial rate increase for flat mail in May 2007. While Standard Mail overall will increase modestly, the nonprofit subclass of standard mail will see a lower overall increase:
- Standard Mail Nonprofit Regular letters - 0.8% increase
- Standard Mail Nonprofit Regular flats - 1.2% decrease
- Nonprofit Periodicals - 2.7% increase
The League is a member of the American Arts Alliance, a coalition of national performing arts service organizations dedicated to advocating for national policies that recognize, enhance, and foster the contributions the performing arts make to America.