This past Monday, the first draft of the City Budget was released. There is a $3.6m increase in arts funding, which, while good, it is still a far cry from the $6m that we asked for.
Despite early indications that the full next phase of funding was allocated, the current budget falls short of reaching our targets. This is yet another delay in reaching the $25 per capita target that was established way back in 2003.
Increasing the city’s investment in culture is a central part of the City’s strategic plan at the highest level, and was unanimously endorsed again in 2013. We need to build on the success of 2013 and keep that momentum going.
In particular, the areas in the 2014 budget that fall short of requested amounts are the granting programs – the Toronto Arts Council, the Local Arts Service Organizations, the Major Cultural Organizations program and CultureBuild.
While many councillors are supportive of our cause, not many are going to look through the budget detail specifically with the Arts in mind. So we need to let them know. Please email your Councillor, thank them for their support and ask them to follow-up with their colleagues, with Budget committee, with staff, and voice their support for getting that number back up to $6 million. Emails can be found HERE.
Plans in our sector were and are being made based on that $6 million. Jobs and productions were and are being created. Let’s not take one step forward, and 2.4 million backwards. Email your councillor. Please.