Cuyahoga County Arts Tax Revenue Continues To Drop
Cigarette tax revenue that supports arts and cultural activities in Cuyahoga County dropped by nearly 10% since last year. An update on finances and future plans was delivered at Wednesday's board meeting of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC), the agency that distributes those funds.
The meeting took place at Karamu House, Cleveland’s century-old multicultural arts center. CEO Tony Sias took board members on a tour of his rejuvenated facility, noting how CAC funds were vital in helping bring his institution back from the brink of economic collapse four years ago. It’s the sort of success story that the agency likes to highlight as it navigates the challenges of arts funding.
The latest financial report from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture indicates tax receipts are down by nearly $900,000 since last year. With new grant announcements due in the next few months, CAC administration director Meg Harris predicted that arts organizations would be funded at about the same levels as the previous round, but there will likely be reductions after that. Board chairwoman Charna Sherman sought to calm nervous recipients.
"We don't need our grantees to worry that this year or next year will be any different," she said.
CAC's interim director Jill Paulsen added that the agency would be in close consultation with recipients as the next grant rollout gets closer.
Efforts are ongoing in the community to identify new revenue sources to replace or supplement the current 30-cent-a-pack tax on cigarette sales. Sherman added that the search for a new CEO continues, a position that's been vacant for more than a year. She's hopeful a selection will be made by December.
ideastream receives funding from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.