The NEA budget would total $161.3 million under Obama's plan, up from the current year's $155 million. Most of the spending is funneled to state and regional arts agencies and to nonprofit arts organizations.
Still to come is a new NEA chairman to succeed Dana Gioia, whom Obama has yet to appoint. And the agency is far from its budgetary peak during the presidency of the first George Bush. Adjusting for inflation, it would take $267 million in today's dollars — $106 million more than Obama's proposal — to match the $176 million the agency spent in 1992.
Soon after that, Congress took away the NEA's authority to make grants to individual artists. By 2000, the agency was getting by on $97.6 million. The coming year's proposed $6 million increase compares with hikes of $10.5 million and $20 million in two of the George W. Bush years, and $10.3 million for the current year's budget that Obama signed in March.