The White House released its FY 2003 budget proposal on February 4, 2002, in which President George W. Bush calls for dramatic increases in spending for defense (a $48 billion increase), homeland security, and the war on terrorism, and makes dramatic cuts in other programs. In light of this, the nation’s cultural institutions seem to have fared fairly well.
Bush has requested almost $117.4 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (a $2.1 million or a 1.7 percent increase from FY 2002) and about $126.9 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities (a $2 million or a 1.9 percent increase from last year). The increases for these are aimed at funding the full costs associated with the proposed legislative change in accounting for retirement and health-benefits costs; program budgets are identical with the present fiscal year.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services’s projected budget of $210.7 million is an increase of 8.1 percent over last year. The administration’s budget request for the Smithsonian Institution calls for an increase of $9 million; this figure represents a 1.8 percent increase from the previous year. The total $528 million budget proposal for the Smithsonian includes $10 million for the construction of the National Museum of the American Indian, as well as $5.2 million for staffing and exhibition planning for the new museum. Funding has also been proposed for continuing the renovation work on the historic Patent Office Building, which houses the National Portrait Gallery.