Oregon Cultural Trust at Critical Crossroads

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Oregon Cultural Trust is at a critical crossroads: its unique, 10-year old cultural tax credit is up for reauthorization by the 2013 Legislature. 

The 10-year Cultural Tax Credit allows the Trust to grant 1.5m+ a year to cultural non-profits, impacting education, the economy and civic engagement.

The tax credit has a profound multiplier effect. For example, if the Trust raises $3.5 million a year, then 1300 non-profit partners have also raised $3.5 million.

The Trust is part of Oregon's unique legislative heritage ranked with the Bottle Bill, Beach Bill and Vote By Mail among our most innovative policies.

Local beneficiaries include children, families and organizations through direct grants to Lincoln City Cultural Center and funds to the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition to re-grant to Lincoln county non-profits. 

The Oregon Cultural Trust is our state's cultural champion, developing and sustaining the arts, heritage and humanities that keep our state vibrant, healthy and alive. Support the Trust by talking to your legislator about the continuation of the cultural tax credit.  Below is study data to inform yourself and to share with legislators.  For more information go to www.oregonculture.org.  Thank you for your part to protect and renew the cultural tax credit.

economic impact of Cultural Trust

In a recent ECONorthwest study commissioned by the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, the aggregate economic impacts of Oregon's cultural nonprofit organizations, encompassing arts, culture, heritage, history and the humanities were identified; totaling $1.2 billion in sales and $466 million in wages. The study did not assess Oregon's diverse creative sector, but instead focused tightly on the economic impacts of those nonprofits eligible for financial support through Oregon's Cultural Trust, and the secondary economic activity tied to their work.

The report found over 19,000 Oregonians working in the cultural sector - which is roughly equivalent to Oregon's legal sector. Of this number, 8,750 are employed by a nonprofit that is eligible for support through the Oregon Cultural Trust. These nonprofits were found to directly generate $580.5 million in sales and $272.8 million in taxable employee income. 

When supply-chain and consumption driven spending was calculated, ECONorthwest estimated the nonprofits' total economic impact at $1.2 billion in sales, with taxable income climbing to $466 million-generating $57.2 million in tax and fee revenues for state and local governments.

These estimates were based on multiplier effects which found that $1 million in sales by a cultural nonprofit generated an additional $1.1 million in sales for other Oregon businesses. Also, jobs at cultural nonprofits linked to jobs in other sectors of Oregon's economy. For every 10 jobs in a nonprofit that is eligible for cultural trust grants, there are seven jobs in another sector of the economy tied to those jobs.

The Oregon Cultural Trust was created by the Legislature in 2001 to support, stabilize and protect Oregon culture; and to enhance the lives of Oregonians by increasing opportunities to experience Oregon's unique cultural offerings. Since then, the Trust has grown to a $17 million permanent fund, through small donations from more than 25,000 Oregonians and has buoyed Oregon's cultural economy with nearly $10 million in grants. 

The study was commissioned to further inform policy discussions around the Trust as legislators consider whether or not to reauthorize the State tax credit that fuels gifts to the Trust in 2013.