Update on $500M Campaign



The legislative session ended in the wee hours of the morning last night and there is a lot of information to sift through. We’ve got some quick updates on our Illinois Creative Future Fund campaign. So far it’s not great news, but there is still hope.

The legislature passed the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, but it only appropriated $2.5B of the $8.1B the State is expected to receive in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. These are the federal dollars that we’ve been arguing should (in part) go to the arts. (“appropriate” is kind of government-speak for “spend”).

The appropriated (spent) ARP funds appear to include no recovery money dedicated to the creative sector or to any other sector or industry for that matter. Based on comments from legislative leadership, approximately $500M is intended to go toward business recovery generally. The majority of this will take the form of a renamed Business Interruption Grant program (now "Back to Business" grants), which has no priority industries indicated at this time. All of this we still need to verify in the bill language itself. 

Representative Harris said that the rest of the ARP money (that hasn’t currently been appropriated) is intended for the next four years, and that legislators will be strategic and targeted in how they decide to use it. Those future decisions will require formal legislative action, and no timetable has been set for that (closest we’ve heard has been "over the summer"). So, there is still hope.

What is clear at this time: we will need to keep pushing. We are strategizing with our lobbyist in Springfield over the coming days and will have updated action plans soon.

We will also have a full analysis on this budget bill to you by this Thursday, June 3. 

Thank you for your tireless efforts for the arts in Illinois. This isn’t the big win we had hoped for, but the work continues.

More soon,

Arts Alliance Illinois