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The Texas Commission on the Arts survived

The Texas Commission on the Arts survived Gov. Rick Perry’s effort to zero it out last year, but with half its previous budget. Now, as the 2013 legislative session approaches, the spotlight is on the agency again. The agency awards grants to arts and cultural organizations and will have handed out about $2.8 million for fiscal year 2012, down from $6.6 million the previous year. Arts advocates are attesting to its importance to Texas communities, legislators are asking questions about its operation and a sunset report recommends that it remain open, but with a few changes. According to reports, Investment of state money in the arts stimulates economic development and draws more than $1 million in federal and regional arts funding to Texas that wouldn’t be available otherwise. A requirement that at least two board members come from counties with populations below 50,000 would remain, according the recommendations. Another suggestion was that the Legislature give clear authority for the commission’s grant-making practices. Lawmakers will decide whether to follow those suggestions when they meet in January.

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