The D.C. Commission on the Arts is hoping that in the next two weeks the House will restore the requested increase in funding that was vetoed last month.
The commission had asked for a $236,500 increase in its fiscal 1981 budget over this year's figure. But on July 29, the House Subcommittee on District of Columbia Appropriations voted against the request, recommending no change in the commission's level of funding.
"I don't think there was any opposition to or disenchantment with what the Arts Commission is doing," said one subcommittee staffer of the decision. "The subsommittee just felt the commission could contiue doing its outstanding job with what they had last year. This is a tight year."
It will be late August before the full Appropriations Committee makes a decision on the D.C. budget. After that, the House still has to approve it. Informed observers say neither the full committee nor the full House is likely to go against the subcommittee position. However, they say, the Senate committee that oversees the D.C. government budget might grant the increase.
"The mayor and the city council have been very supportive," said Mildred Bautista, executive director of the D.C. Commission n the Arts. "They didn't cut the increase down. We're concerned, but not worried. We have indications from the Senate Committee that they will try to be as supportive as possible in terms of reinstating the requested increase."
The D.C. government funds to the commission are separate from, and do not affect, the funding granted to the commission by the National Endowment for the Arts -- money that every state arts funding agency receives yearly.For fiscal year 1980, the commission received $295,000 from the NEA, and the next fiscal year's amount will probably not vary much.
However, said Bautista, "if we stay at the same amount that we received last fiscal year, it will actually mean a decrease in grant money. For the first time in fiscal 1981 [which begins Oct. 1] we will be assuming about $42,000 of administrative expenses."
Bautista also said that without a budget increase, the commission may lose Comprehensive Employment Training Act grant recipients -- who make up much of the commission staff -- and she will have to hire additional staff.