12/13/10: Reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover
The IRA Charitable Rollover is a tax incentive allowing individuals 70 and older to contribute up to $100,000 from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and Roth IRAs to charities, increasing donations to the nation's nonprofit community. As of today, Congress is slated to consider reinstating the IRA Rollover as part of a larger tax package before the end of the year. It is critical to maintain charitable giving options for individuals to provide a consistent source of revenue for programs and services to people and communities.
ACTION: Lend your voice of support to ensure this important charitable giving incentive is included in the final legislation. The IRA Charitable Rollover will allow for millions in donations to the nation's nonprofit performing arts organizations. Ask your Senators to support legislation that will reinstate this important charitable giving incentive. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance webpage, the Action Alert on this issue, and to access a sample letter.
9/14/10: First Annual Arts in Education Week-- September 12 - 18, 2010 In late July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed resolution H.Con.Res. 275 designating the second week of September "Arts in Education Week." During this important week, every member of Congress, in every state, needs to hear from their constituents on the value of arts education in our schools. This is also an excellent opportunity to advocate for arts education at the local level with your school board.
ACTION: Contact your elected official to support the Arts in Education program at the U.S. Department of Education.
7/28/10: House Interior Appropriations Subcommitte approves $2.5 million increase to the NEA The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has approved a $2.5 million increase for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), bringing NEA funding to $170 million for FY 2011. Current funding for the agency totals $167.5 million. This is a noteworthy increase given the current discretionary spending freeze in place.
ACTION: Contact your elected official to support this increase in NEA funding.
7/22/10 Visa Processing Improvements Promised by USCIS
In a meeting on July 20th U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) promised public stakeholders that processing times for regularly-filed artist visa petitions will no longer exceed 14 days and that significant improvements to the quality of artist visa processing will soon be underway. The agency is making a major effort to revise its policy and training programs for its two US service centers in response to requests from the nonprofit performing arts community and following significant intervention by leaders in the House, Senate, and the White House Domestic Policy Council. Following years of advocacy on this issue, the Performing Arts Alliance is extremely pleased with this week's breakthrough.
ACTION: TCG in partnership with the Performing Art Alliance and the Performing Arts Visa Working Group will continue to seek the promised improvements, and your examples of visa challenges are essential as we continue to communicate with USCIS headquarters. Please report theatre related visa problems to Laurie Baskin, Director of Government and Education Programs at TCG. For more information about visa processing for artists from abroad, please see the PAA’s Action Alert.
7/19/10: File Comments on Fee Increase Proposal from USCIS
Performing arts organizations experiencing difficulty obtaining artist visas have a new opportunity to weigh in with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as the agency proposes an across-the-board fee increase. USCIS proposes a $5 increase in the fee for the regular I-129 visa processing form (which would bring the fee to $325), and a $225 increase in the Premium Processing fee (bringing the total fee to $1,225).
ACTION: Your theatre can urge USCIS to make immediate, long-overdue improvements to the regular artist visa process and to refrain from increasing the already-unaffordable Premium Processing fee. Comments to USCIS are due by July 26. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, Action Alert, and to learn more about filing comments.
5/14/1o: Weigh In With USCIS
In response to concerns expressed by the Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) and the broader national performing arts community, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has opened a public comment period on one aspect of the artist visa process: the amount of time allowable between multiple engagements in a single visa approval period. The PAA, in partnership with our national performing arts sector colleagues, will submit detailed comments to USCIS. We encourage you to consider submitting comments on behalf of your performing arts organization to give greater voice to the concerns about the artist visa process.
ACTION: Please read through our simple talking points that may be modified to include details about your organization's experience with the visa process; then file comments with USCIS by Monday, May 24, 2010. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, an Action Alert on this issue, and to access other resources on visas and the performing artis.
3/20/10: Support an Increase in Funding for the NEA
President Obama’s FY2011 budget was recently released and it contained mixed news for the arts community. The president ultimately proposed the same funding allocation that he proposed last year for the NEA, $161.3 million. The NEA is currently funded at $167.5 million, so the president's proposal would translate to a $6.2 million decrease in funding.
ACTION: Please take a moment to write your Senators and Representative and ask them to increase funding for the NEA to $180 million for FY2011. Click here to view this Action Alert on the Performing Arts Alliance Website, and to send an e-mail to your elected officials.
3/14/10: Improve Visa Processing for Foreign Guest Artists
Urge your Representatives and Senators to enact the Arts Require Timely Service (ARTS) Act (H.R. 1785 and S.1409), which will require USCIS to reduce the total processing times for O and P petitions filed by, or on behalf of, nonprofit arts-related organizations to a maximum of 45 days. The measure passed the full House on April 1, 2008, and was re-introduced in 2009 in the Senate. The legislation has broad bipartisan support, and has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as having no cost to the federal government.
ACTION: Ask your Representative and Senators to support legislation that will improve the visa process for foreign guest artists. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Webpage, an Action Alert on this issue, and to access a sample letter.
2/4/10: FCC Issues Notice to Vacate the 700s MGz Band
On January 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking making effective their call for wireless microphone users to vacate the 700 MHz spectrum by June 12, 2010. Performing arts organizations using wireless microphones must comply with the FCC's order and leave the 700 MHz Band as soon as possible.
ACTION: If you have not already done so, be sure to confirm the frequencies on which your wireless microphones operate. If they operate in the 700 MHz Band, consult the FCC's online resource to verify if your equipment can be modified to operate outside of the affected spectrum. Depending on make and model, some of your equipment could be re-banded with a new frequency range, so it is important to begin this process immediately.
1/27/10: TCG joins Coalition of Wireless Microphone Users Theatre Communications Group has joined the Coalition of Wireless Microphone Users (CWMU) led by the Broadway League. This coalition also includes organizations from other sectors which utilize wireless microphone technology. Government Affairs Staff from the Performing Arts Alliance have had meetings with senior staff in both commissioner Copps and McDowell’s offices, and on September 11, TCG executive director Teresa Eyring, along with other representatives of the CWMU met with Ruth Milkman, Wireless Communications Bureau Chief; Erin McGrath, advisor to Commissioner Baker; and David Goldman, legal advisor to Chairman Genachowski. They discussed the White Space issue and FCC staff members were receptive to the concerns expressed by the CWMU. ACTION: Sign up for action alerts from the Performing Arts Alliance.
10/30/09: House and Senate Approve NEA Increase
On Thursday, October 30, 2009, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed an increase in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts for $167.5 million in FY 2010. This appropriation is a $12.5 million increase above the current $155 million in funding. The House had previously approved a $170 million funding level, while the Senate had approved $161.3 million. The White House had originally budgeted $161 million. The final budget, reconciled in conference committee this week, was passed by a vote of 247-178 in the House and 72-28 in the Senate with President Obama expected to sign the bill shortly.
ACTION: Please contact your representative and thank them for their support of the arts. Click here to view this Action Alert on the Performing Arts Alliance Website, and to send an e-mail to your elected officials.
10/9/09: Ask Your Representative to Support National Service
Congress is moving towards final appropriations for our nation's national service programs, which includes funding for the recently passed Edward M. Kennedy Serve-America Act, legislation that represents an opportunity to engage Americans, including performing artists, in service opportunities across the country. In addition to establishing four new service corps, the legislation authorized three new funding programs: the Social Innovation Fund, the Volunteer Generation Fund, and the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program. The Co-Chairs of the House National Service Caucus have written a letter to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) urging senior appropriators to support $1.157 billion in FY 2010 for the Corporation for National and Community Service. This appropriation has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and will meet the funding goals set in the Serve-America Act.
ACTION: Please contact your Representative today and urge them to sign the letter being circulated by the National Service Caucus in support of the Corporation for National and Community Service by Friday, October 16th. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, an Action Alert on the issue, and to access a sample letter.
9/30/09: House Continues to Support $15 Million Increase for the NEA
The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have completed their appropriations bills for FY 2010, including allocations for funding the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The House approved $170 million for the NEA, representing a $15 million increase over last year’s appropriations, while the Senate allocated $161.3 million. These funding levels represent a step in the right direction toward restoring NEA funds cut by 40% more than a decade ago, but as the two bills are reconciled in conference committee negotiations, it is crucial that Senators and Representatives hear that their constituents support a restoration of federal funding for the arts. Please take a moment to contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to support this increase. Members of the Senate and House Interior Appropriations Subcommittees listed below are particularly important to the process. If your Members of Congress are not listed, you can still lend your support and ask them to urge their colleagues on the Senate and House Interior Appropriations Subcommittees to support this funding increase.
ACTION: Please contact your Members of Congress and request their support for an increase in funding for the NEA. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, an Action Alert on the issue, and to access a sample letter.
|Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee||House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee|
|Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chairman||Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Chairman|
|Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)||Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)|
|Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)||Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY)|
|Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)||Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)|
|Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)||Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)|
|Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)||Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH)|
|Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)||Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)|
|Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)||Rep. James Moran (D-VA)|
|Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)||Rep. John Olver (D-MA)|
|Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)||Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ)|
|Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)||Rep. David Price (D-NC)|
|Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)||Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID)|
|Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)||Rep. David Obey (D-WI), Ex Officio|
|Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)||Rep. Jerry Lewis (D-CA), Ex Officio|
|Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)||***|
|Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)||***|
|Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Ex Officio||***|
7/20/09: Extend the IRA Charitable Rollover Provision
The IRA Charitable Rollover provision will expire on December 31, 2009 unless Congress acts to extend this important charitable giving incentive. Charitable giving supports the public value created by arts organizations large and small across the country and must remain a top priority. Raise your voice today by asking your Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor the Public Good IRA Rollover Act. This legislation permanently extends the IRA Charitable Rollover allowing for tax-free charitable contributions to come directly from Individual Retirement Accounts.
ACTION: Please communicate today with your elected officials that the economy is taking its toll on the nonprofit community and encouraging charitable giving is essential to the health of nonprofit organizations. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, an Action Alert on the issue, and to access a sample letter.
7/9/09: House Approves $15 Million Increase for the NEA
The House of Representatives approved a $15 million increase for the National Endowment for the Arts, bringing NEA funding to $170 million for FY 2010. The total for the agency in FY 2009 is $155 million, and this increase reflects years of advocacy since the NEA's budget was severely cut in 1995. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Chairman of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, championed the NEA funding as a priority issue, and we now need your help to urge the Senate to support this critical funding increase. On June 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $161.3 million for the NEA, and urge you to call on your Senators to match the funding level approved by the House as the Senate appropriations process moves forward.
ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators and thank them for reinstating the IRA Rollover. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Webpage, an Action Alert on the issue, and to access a sample letter.
2/13/09: Economic Stimulus Bill Includes $50 Million for the NEA - A Big Win For the Arts
Today (February 13th) marks a significant victory for the arts in this country. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes $50 million to preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector to be distributed through the NEA. The theatre community mobilized and actively participated in effecting this positive legislative outcome. Members of Congress need to be continually reminded that theatre companies supply jobs, purchase goods and services, and provide programs contributing in measurable ways to the health of our nation’s communities. Thanks to everyone for your advocacy efforts! How can you access this funding? The National Endowment for the Arts will provide one-time grants for projects that focus on preserving jobs in the arts to eligible not-for-profits including: arts organizations, local arts agencies, statewide assemblies of local arts agencies, arts service organizations, units of state or local government, and a wide range of other organizations that can help advance the goals of the NEA and this program. All applicants must be previous NEA award recipients from the past four years (see "Applicant Eligibility" for more information). In addition, organizations are limited to receiving NEA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through only one source. Sources include the Arts Endowment directly, or through an entity eligible to subgrant NEA funds including a state arts agency, a regional arts organization of state arts agencies, or a designated local arts agency that is eligible to subgrant or regrant funds. The deadline for application is April 2, 2009.
ACTION: For more information on how to apply, please visit: www.arts.gov.
2/9/09: Urgent – Support the Arts in the Final Version of the Stimulus Package!
Urge yur Members of Congress to support the arts within the Economic Stimulus Bill today! Although the House version of the Stimulus Bill includes $50 million to be distributed by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Senate version does not, including instead, an amendment offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) prohibiting funds in the Economic Stimulus Bill from going to theaters and arts centers. The Senate approved the amendment by a vote of 73-24, however, we still have an opportunity to overturn this decision when the House and Senate versions of the Bill are reconciled by the Conference Committee. If you live in the state or district of any of the conferees listed below, it is vital that you reach out to them as soon as possible to encourage their support! Please take action by February 13th!
ACTION: Please contact your Senators and Representative by February 13th, and urge them to support the arts in the Economic Stimulus Bill. Click here to link to the PAA Action Alert and then click "Take Action," and customize and send a pre-addressed email to your Senator and Member of Congress urging support for the arts in the Economic Stimulus Bill.
|House Conferees||Senate Conferees|
|Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI-04)||Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)|
|Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA-41)||Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)|
|Rep. David R. Obey (D-WI-07)||Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)|
|Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY-15)||Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)|
|Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA-30)||Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)|
2/5/09: Vote NO on the Coburn "Limitation on Funds Amend. No. 175"
The arts community throughout the United States has been heavily impacted by funding reductions and cut-backs in state and local support. Countless jobs and services are at risk and not-for-profit arts organizations in communities nationwide are in need of immediate assistance. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 designates $50 million to the NEA to provide direct grants along with block grants to state arts councils to fund grant projects and activities vital to communities nationwide. Now is the time to raise your voice, joining thousands of other advocates in the arts and not-for-profit communities who are calling for Congress to support the arts and our economic recovery!
ACTION: Urge your Senator to vote NO to Senator Tom Coburn's (R-OK) amendment prohibiting any funds in the economic stimulus bill from going to theaters and arts centers. Click here to view this Action Alert on the Performing Arts Alliance Website, and to send an e-mail to your elected officials.
1/28/09: Urge Senate to Support the NEA
In their markup of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill (ARRP) of 2009, the Senate Appropriations Committee has cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The bill goes to the House floor today, and we urge you to take action by contacting your Representative to build support for its passage. Later this week, the Senate takes up the bill, therefore your participation could still influence the final outcome.
ACTION: Help to ensure that Congress makes the arts a priority. Click here to view this Action Alert on the Performing Arts Alliance Website, and to send an e-mail to your elected officials.
1/21/09: Arts Funding Included in the Stimulus Package
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 includes $50,000,000 for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to distribute in direct grants to fund arts projects, which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector. Performing arts organizations provide public access to performances, support arts education for children and adults, nurture the creative endeavors of artists, and contribute to our nation's vibrant cultural community. The Performing Arts Alliance, working in coalition with the Cultural Advocacy Group, has called on President Obama and Congress to support nine federal programs and proposals in their consideration of an economic recovery package.
ACTION: Your advocacy is needed to ensure that Congress includes the arts as a priority during this period of economic recovery and reinvestment. Click here to see the Performing Arts Alliance Website, an Action Alert on the issue, and to access a sample letter