On March 16, 2017, the White House released a budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018. This proposal includes the elimination of federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The elimination of such funding would impact Colorado's cultural assets, our prosperity and our state identity. Arts and culture are a strongly held value of our residents evidenced by the fact that Colorado ranked #1 in the country for the percentage of adults who perform or create artwork. The creative industries are the fifth largest employment sector in Colorado. Creative jobs in our state numbered 139,096 in 2015 and accounted for $7.2 billion in earnings. Our music industry alone creates over 16,000 jobs and $658 million in earnings.
If this budget is enacted, rural areas, low-income communities and schools would suffer disproportionately from reductions in government arts funding. Last year NEA funding to CCI supported 237 creative nonprofits, creative districts, individuals and businesses in Colorado, of which 44% of the awards went to rural and small communities across the state and approximately 38% of the funds supplemented arts education programs in low income areas.
As a supporter of the arts, you know that the impact of the NEA is essential, and wide-reaching. Each $1 in NEA grant funds leverages another $9 from other public and private sources. The NEA's grants and programs are powerful examples of how the arts are a vital part of our everyday lives. This power can be seen in communities across the nation, and Colorado is no exception. Yet, the NEA's $148 million budget represents just 0.004% of the federal budget, less than 1/2 of one hundredth of one percent.
Keep in mind, the proposed White House Budget is the first -- not the final -- step in the FY 2018 appropriations process. The Legislative Branch ultimately decides how to allocate federal funds. We encourage Coloradans to be active and enthusiastic participants in this dialogue. You can use your voice to tell Congress that the elimination of or radical reductions to the NEA are unacceptable to taxpayers.
Should you be interested in efforts to express your concerns at the state and national level, we encourage you to connect with Arts for Colorado, Colorado Business Community for the Arts, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and Americans for the Arts.
As always, we honor and appreciate your passion, creativity, and partnership in support of the arts in Colorado.
Director, Colorado Creative Industries