Advocacy Alert: March 5

Sequestration: What it Means for Museums

On Friday, March 1, $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts were triggered, a process commonly called “sequestration,” which is now affecting nearly every agency throughout the government. For most agencies that support museums, (including IMLS, NEA, NEH and NSF) this means a five percent cut in their annual funding, including a reduction in grant-making activities for the year ahead. 

While Congress may still undo or restructure sequestration, federal agencies are now determining how to absorb these severe cuts. The National Endowment for the Humanities expects to make fewer new awards at lower award amounts. The National Science Foundation is expecting to award 1,000 fewer new research grants.

“The Alliance will continue to fight for federal museum funding in the days and weeks ahead, but we must be sure the current decrease in federal grants is not compounded by a reduction in charitable giving incentives,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell. "I was pleased to submit testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee last month, but members of Congress also need to hear from their constituents about how charitable giving limitations would affect museums."

While Congress’s inability to reach agreement on spending issues has complicated and slowed the federal budget process this year, interest is also picking up on comprehensive tax reform. The House committee with jurisdiction over the tax code held a hearing on February 14 on proposals to reform charitable contribution tax incentives, many of which could have a devastating impact on giving to museums and other nonprofits. 

Do your legislators know how important charitable giving is to your museum?

Tell them right now.   

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