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HUGE NEWS About Arts and Arts Education Policies in Washington

We wanted to share this exciting news from Americans for the Arts:

There’s huge news for arts and arts education policies in Washington. Agreements on both Fiscal Year 2016 funding and expired tax provisions impacting charitable giving have just been reached.

Yesterday morning, Congress released the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. The bills call for an increase in the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)’s budget of almost $2 million and a permanent extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover- big legislative wins!

The budget for the NEA was increased to $147.949 million, the amount of the President’s request. Earlier this year, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House proposals were to level-fund the NEA for the fifth year in a row, but the success of the 2-year budget agreement to “raise the caps” enabled additional funding to reach the agency.

The budget for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education program also increased to $27 million—a $2 million increase. In recent years this program had received level funding and also seen proposals for termination, but arts advocates once again made the case and in the next authorization beginning in Fiscal Year 2017, it continues under the “Assistance for Arts Education” program enacted under ESSA--the Every Student Succeeds Act, now signed into law.

On charitable giving, the non-profit arts community has been pursuing making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover for over decade. Permanence will give certainty and spur new and increased charitable donations to arts and culture institutions and the full array of nonprofits that serve Americans every day. The eligibility in the agreement is the same as the previous law—70 ½ years of age and a maximum of up to $100,000 given directly to a charity of choice per taxpayer in any tax year.

There will likely be swift approval by Congress before their holiday recess.

Both of these bills are anticipated to be signed into law on or before December 22.Between the Every Student Succeeds Act, the proposed FY2016 budget and the tax deal, this past month has been monumental for arts and arts education policies. The great progress made this year would not have been possible without you and your commitment to advancing the arts.

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