The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services' report on its Budget 2016 consultations, released earlier this week, includes significant recommendations pertaining to the arts and culture sector which mirror the requests made to the Committee by the Alliance for Arts + Culture.
Executive director Rob Gloor presented the Alliance's recommendations at a Vancouver public hearing in September, and through a written submission as part of the consultation process.
Our presentation emphasized the potential for making BC's arts, culture and heritage sector more competitive within a national context through increased investment. It referenced economic impact and the ways in which arts, culture and heritage enhance the quality of life in our communities, thus attracting and retaining employees and residents.
The Committee's budget recommendations to the provincial government are to:
- Increase investment in the arts, including multiple-year funding commitments to arts, culture and heritage funding, increase the grant budget of the BC Arts Council and invest in a cultural facilities capital infrastructure program;
- Restore Community Gaming Grants levels to 2008 levels and provide incremental increases as gaming funds increase.
In addition, the Committee also recommends that the government:
- Commit to stable, ongoing funding for BC public libraries and restore the separate public library services line item in the budget to provide transparent accounting of library funding;
- Explore the provision of publicly funded library services for First Nations communities on reserve, including books by mail and bookmobile services.
The Committee's full report and recommendations to the provincial government can be found here. References to arts funding and support begin on page 42.
The Alliance is encouraged by the inclusion of our recommendations in the Committee's report. We urge members of the arts and culture community to email the Finance Minister here to recommend that these be brought into the next budget in February, and also copy the finance critic Carole James here.