In the coming weeks, our elected officials at both the state and federal levels will work on legislation that will directly impact our museums. In Albany, legislators are working on budget priorities. In Washington, Congress is shaping the next COVID-19 relief package and gathering support for 2022 appropriations.
We have a small window in which to effect change and I’m asking you to take action today.
We have 73 members in the NY delegation participating in AAM’s Museums Advocacy Day, but we know that you can speak out to support museums from anywhere. Find your Federal Elected Officials, contact your representative today, and communicate these four points:
1. Thank them for including museums in the CARES Act economic relief bill through the Payroll Protection Program and grants through federal funding agencies.
2. Let them know specifically how the pandemic is affecting you and your museum and how your museum worked with your community virtually.
3. Request their support for the proposed 100% increase in funding to the Office of Museums at the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2022 and the inclusion of funding for the NEA, NEH, and IMLS in the next relief package.
4. Appeal to them to remove the fixed seating requirement in the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program in the next relief bill to enable more museums to receive desperately needed aid.
The proposed 2021-2022 New York State Executive budget included flat funding for NYSCA, but proposed a $3M reduction – from $16M to $13M – for Zoos, Botanic Gardens, and Aquaria (ZBGA). It will take everyone’s voices to restore the $3M in the State’s projected deficit budget during this pandemic year; both the Assembly and Senate need to restore ZBGA funding in their “one house” budgets.
Assemblyman Englebright has drafted an Assembly Majority sign on letter to Speaker Carl Heastie calling for full ZBGA restoration. If your Assembly Member is in the Majority Conference, they may sign on to this letter by reaching out directly to Englebright’s office and confirm their support.
As we take the steps that we need to move from quarantine to relief and recovery I know you will help museums in New York and our nation by speaking out today.
Photo of United States Capitol provided by MANY.