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What would happen if these bills, or the concepts within them, became law? These seven bills together map a new, more equitable and impactful policy landscape for creative businesses and workers. Were all these bills to pass into law, they would improve the lives of all Americans by opening billions of dollars in investment opportunity for creative businesses and entrepreneurs, expanding opportunity for current and future workers, and boosting the U.S. economy. In paticular:
- The creative economic engine would be recognized and supported for the powerhouse that it is.
- Cultural entrepreneurs and small businesses could access the capital to grow and contribute to local economies.
- Displaced and marginalized creative workers would be taxed and supported appropriately and centered in policy reforms.
- Creative skills development would sit alongside other essential skills to educate a next generation workforce.
- The integration of art in public spaces would be codified as a necessary expenditure toward a health, vibrant community.
ABOUT THE BILLS
Never in U.S. history have there been seven bills introduced in Congress to address and improve the creative economy and the lives of the creative workforce. Together, these bills offer a new vision to supercharge the creative economic powerhouse and ensure a full, vibrant creative life for all Americans.
Bill number: H.R. 9175
Sponsor: Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
The CREATIVE Act expands the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) grantmaking capabilities by providing necessary funding to local arts agencies, nonprofit arts organizations, and other arts related institutions. Further, the bill provides funding to underserved and rural populations by reserving a percentage of NEA grant funding for those respective communities.
Bill numbers: HR 6569 / S.3560
Sponsors: Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
The Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce Act (PLACE Act) bolsters local creative economies and workers in creative industries. It amends existing legislation to include the arts, creates new creative economy grants, and directs funding for creative businesses.
Bill numbers: HR 6381 / S.3521
Sponsors: Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
The bi-partisan Comprehensive Resources for Entrepreneurs in the Arts to Transform the Economy Act (CREATE Act) aligns policy to serve those that make our creative economy prosper. It expands SBA and EDA loan programs, and integrates creative work into support programs.
Bill numbers: HR 5019 / S. 2858
Sponsors: Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM), Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Sen. Ben Luján (D-NM)
The Creative Economy Revitalization Act (CERA), a bi-partisan workforce bill, authorizes $300m in grants to pay local creative workers through public creative projects like festivals, performances, public art, narrative gathering from first responders and marginalized communities, and arts education work.
Bill numbers: HR 4750 / S. 2872
Sponsors: Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
The Performing Arts Tax Parity Act (PATPA), a bi-partisan bill in both the House and the Senate, updates the Qualified Performing Artist tax deduction, modernizing a provision that has been on the books since it was signed into law in the 1980’s so that middle-class arts workers can deduct common business expenses.
Bill numbers: HR 5581
Sponsors: Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM)
The Arts Education for All Act (AEFA), the broadest arts education bill ever introduced, supports universal arts education from pre-K through 12th grade, as well as in the juvenile justice system. It closes existing equity gaps to improve health, academic, social, and career success.
Bill numbers: HR 3054
Sponsors: Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM)
Inspired by the 1935 Federal Writers' Project of the New Deal Era, the 21st Century Federal Writers Project Act (21CFWP) will help address the mass unemployment of writers by authorizing a new grant program and will create a nationally administered archives for the commissioned writing.
Bill numbers: HR 2380
Sponsors: Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)
The Saving Transit Arts Resources Act (STAR Act) restores control to local transit authorities regarding art and non-functional landscaping in federally funded transit projects. It returns federal transportation policy to what was the status quo for 30 years until a 2015 reauthorization unexpected prohibited such purposes.
These seven bills have common aims. Both innovative policies and line-by-line adjustments will impact and improve the lives of creative workers, increase opportunity for creative businesses, expand opportunity to access education in the arts, creativity, and innovation, and correct inequities in current policy.
Racial and cultural equity, particularly for culturebearers, narratives from marginalized groups, and access to arts education, are central to this legislative push. Five of the bills address racial, geographic, economic, and cultural equity.
CERA and 21CFWP include specific calls to commission narratives from marginalized populations, and CERA and AEFA both center funding for arts education for all, including the support of culturebearers who carry traditional knowledge forward. PLACE adjusts policy to ensure Indigenous artisans earn fairer revenue from creative work and protects Native heritage, and CREATE expands access to capital for creative entrepreneurs, particularly in rural settings.
The country’s 5.1 million creative workers have long been unable to fully access federal opportunities and programs; these bills and seek to address that inequity. Six of the bills directly impact the livelihoods of creative workers.
PLACE and PATPA adjust tax codes that currently disadvantage artists so they can deduct fair value for donated work and access tax credits and deductions more appropriately. CERA and 21CFWP authorize direct-to-artist grants for work, while STAR ensures transit money can support creators of public art. AEFA invests in skill-building for creative educators and future workers, and PLACE, through various provisions, improves workforce policy for creative workers and increases access to capital for creative businesses.
In the U.S., there are over 673,000 creative businesses—9-in-10 of them small or solo businesses—that will benefit from modest changes in current federal policy. Three of the bills bolster both creative businesses and entrepreneurs.
CREATE expands loan programs and capital for creative businesses, creative entrepreneurs, and non-creative businesses who engage creative workers, and improves access to economic development tools. PLACE increases access to technical assistance, startup and apprenticeship grants, removes barriers to disaster relief funding for creative businesses, and tax incentives. And PATPA corrects tax policy to ensure artists can deduct the cost of unreimbursed business expenses.
The U.S. economy works best when future workers are fully prepared—including in the arts, creativity, and innovation. Three of the bills expand and increase access to education in the arts, creativity, and innovation for all Americans.
AEFA calls for universal arts education and rigorous research to measure and improve impact. CERA provides support to both in-school and community arts education, particularly of marginalized histories and heritages. And PLACE authorizes Creative Economy Apprenticeship Grants under the Department of Education to helping teach the next generation of creative economy workforce and advance creativity as a tool for future innovation and competitive edge.
COMMUNITY AND SECTOR IMPACT
If passed, or adapted into other legislation, these policies would provide significant opportunity for creative workers and businesses. They would create positive economic and social ripple effects in American communities and support a healthier, fuller, and more financially sustainable cultural life for all.
These policy shifts would open access to billions in investment in the creative economy, generating positive economic ripple effects in every American community.
- $3.5 billion in federal funds would be made more accessible for creative businesses for growth capital, skill building, relief, recovery, and more.
- That is a sound financial investment, because the annual amount generated by the creative economy to the U.S. GDP is $919.7 billion, which could be supercharged with better federal investment.
- Research shows that investing in the arts means investing in communities. In fact, 83 cents of every dollar invested in creative entrepreneurs is re-invested locally by that artist, producing a high-return investment that betters every U.S. city and town.
Through modest adjustments to current language, these bills will increase inclusion of creative enterprise in federal, state, and local programs, with significant social return on investment.
- More than 15 federal departments and agencies would become more accessible to creative workers and businesses through these bills, boosting the sector’s economic and innovative potential and increasing access to federal investment.
- Research and documentation show that policy changes that impact the arts ripple out, and there are at least 30 non-arts sectors ranging from education to health to tourism to hospitality that would benefit from policy support of the creative economy.
- When creativity is part of policy strategy, we all win—research shows that there are hundreds of documented positive impacts of arts-supportive public policy including higher test scores, rising property values, stronger social cohesion, and more.
In addition to improving the lives of the U.S.’s creative workers, the policy shifts in these bills would directly affect tens of millions of Americans beyond the creative sector.
- Over 5.1 million people in the United States are creative workers, and over a third of those are independent/gig workers or entrepreneurs that collectively fuel over 640,000 businesses. All of them are essential to local economies.
- Nationally, 55 million people are independent workers, many of them by choice, who are currently not able to equitably access healthcare, retirement savings, unemployment, paid leave, or growth capital—which stifles innovation, negatively impacts the social and economic growth of communities, and decreases the creative offerings available to all Americans. That doesn’t make sense.
- 86% of Americans agree that creative organizations and artists are important to local businesses and the economies, and all 330 million Americans take part in and are bettered economically, professionally, and socially by creative work.
You can take action today to endorse these bills, encourage sponsorship and support from legislators, and increase knowledge about the creative economy and its impact on American communities. Check out some things you can do below!
- Download and share the above information in PDF format.
- Endorse some or all of these bills (for organizations).
- Request co-sponsorship of these bills from your member of Congress (House and Senate) via our easy E-Alert platform (for individuals).
- Share the legislative news item recognizing the ground-breaking nature of these seven bills.
- Use the Arts Action Fund legislative bill tracker to follow the status of each bill.
- Join the Get Creative Workers Working coalition.
A MOVEMENT FOR ALL—WITHIN AND BEYOND THE CREATIVE SECTOR
Collectively these bills have over 400 endorsements from not only the creative sector but labor, housing, community development, planning, and business. Some of the driving organizations include: the Get Creative Workers Working Coalition, Be An Arts Hero/Arts Workers United, the Performing Arts Alliance, Americans for the Arts, the National Association of Music Merchants, Grantmakers in the Arts, the Freelancers Union, the American Planning Association, the National Alliance of Economic and Community Development Associations, and Transportation 4 America/SmartGrowth America.
Learn more about why good policy for the creative economy is good for all Americans at http://www.creativeworkers.net.