For the first time in three years, President Bush has initiated a proposed increase of 3.2 percent for the National Endowment for the Arts, which would bring it to a total of $128.4 million. The Administration’s request for an increase is its first since 2005, and therefore is a step in the right direction. Moreover, it comes in the wake of strong signals from both parties in Congress that a funding increase is needed.

Nevertheless, our government is significantly under-investing in the NEA, which used to receive much greater funding: in fact, in 1992, the NEA received $176 million, which spurred significant economic growth, artistic achievement, and accessibility to the nation’s cultural organizations across the nation.

Americans for the Arts urges Congress to return NEA funding to its former level as quickly as possible.