Public Affairs Strategy
Wyoming Arts Alliance Legislative/Public Affairs Strategy
WyAA will continue strategies at the federal, state and local level on behalf of arts, culture and arts education in Wyoming that supports and advances the following Key Principles:
- Arts and culture organizations in Wyoming comprise a large and critical economic sector, boasting a major employment base, generating significant tax revenue and providing overall economic stimulus.
- Arts and culture plays a significant role in the vitality of Wyoming, especially in the tourism economy, attraction of knowledge workers, location of new businesses, excellence in education and quality of community life.
- A robust level of local and state-provided public funding for the arts is necessary as an investment in the cultural economy that pays off in new economic activity, healthier communities, better schools, and a higher quality of life.
- Public funding for the arts at the federal, state and local level currently is inadequate and must be increased to provide the degree of investment needed to leverage private sector support and sustain the growth of the arts and culture sector in Wyoming.
- Commitment of public funding to arts and culture activities at the regional and local levels also contributes to the economic development and community-building capacity of the nonprofit arts and culture sector, and should be encouraged as part of a robust community development agenda.
- Arts education is under-valued and under-resourced in too many Wyoming schools. Yet it is a key content area and component to the education of the “whole child” and can make important contributions the overall quality and richness of the education experience.
STATE LEGISLATIVE STRATEGY
- Develop a quantifiable relationship with each member of the Wyoming State Legislature for the purposes of assessing their baseline beliefs and philosophy about public support for the arts.
- Protect the WAC budget and the WCTF
- Be prepared to act if an opportunity presents itself to seek earmarked funding for expanding the granting pool either through a share of a tax, fee, assessment, or a general fund appropriation.
- Working with our national advocacy partner, Americans for the Arts, we will continue to advocate for adequate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporate for Public Broadcasting and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. As deficit reduction continues to be a priority issue in the Congress, there is the potential that these national funding sources for Wyoming arts and culture organizations will take disproportionately high cuts. These institutions, most of which are more than 40 years old, provide millions of dollars of support to Wyoming annually and have been responsible for extending the reach of arts and culture experiences to millions of Americans nationwide.
- In partnership with AFTA, the National Council of Nonprofits and others, we will monitor changes to the federal tax code that might limit tax deductions for charitable gifts, either by capping eligible deductions, limiting qualified charitable activities or creating an aggregate lump sum deduction that might de-incentivize charitable giving in favor of other deductions like mortgage interest. A number of changes to allowable itemized deductions are being discussed by both parties to “close loopholes” in exchange for lower tax rates across a broader base. A number of these changes will be devastating to non-profits, including arts and culture.
- Attempt to recruit one or more of Wyoming’s Members to the Arts Caucus, STEAM Caucus, or sign a letter of support.
- As local, municipal budgets continue to recover, we advocate the refunding of local arts programs while encouraging the development of other arts-friendly policies that will promote more public investment in local arts and culture organizations as key components in local community development and economic development strategies.
- We will work with our local arts partners in communities that have local elections to help identify arts-friendly candidates, educate local candidates about local arts issues, and publicize the outcomes of our efforts so that arts voters may make better-informed decisions about candidates.
- We also will monitor local elections for ballot initiatives, e.g. bond issues that may impact arts and culture with the goal of educating local voters about those impacts, and either endorsing or opposing the initiatives.