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Pingree Introduces Legislation to Bolster Local Creative Economies, Create Skilled Jobs Nationwide

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, introduced the Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce Act, legislation to invest in local economies across the country. The bill, which is the House companion to Senator Brian Schatz’ legislation, will bolster the creative economy and empower workers to find sustainable jobs in creative and cultural industries. 

“The creative economy is a powerhouse in Maine and across the country, adding over $800 billion to our national GDP and growing at a rate nearly double the rest of our economy. However, the industry has taken a devastating hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – with an estimated impact of more than $9 billion to date – and needs our help. I’ve been proud to lead efforts to secure relief for artists and arts organizations, and I’ll continue to push for more,” said Pingree. 

“As we look hopefully toward recovery, the creative economy is an obvious place for investment. I’m proud to introduce legislation that would create opportunities for workers across the country and ensure that the arts can survive and thrive in our communities. The PLACE Act would bolster today’s cultural institutions and creative professionals while fostering new enterprises and a skilled workforce for years to come.”

The PLACE Act creates local opportunity for the creative economy by:

  • Amending definitions to include the creative economy in state and local workforce plans, Native American Programs, Dislocated Worker Grants, Recovering Individual programs, Corrections Education, Career and Technical Education, Work Study, Economic Adjustment, prisoner training programs, and Veterans affairs programs under Title 38; 
  • Providing technical assistance offered by small business development centers in order to foster strong business plans and the execution of those plans; 
  • Authorizing Creative Economy Grants which incubate small business in their “startup” phase by allowing for wage subsidies; 
  • Authorizing Creative Economy Apprenticeship Grants under the Department of Education to helping teach the future creative economy workforce; 
  • Updating tax codes regarding deductions for artists’ works and the performing artists tax credit; 
  • Including creative economy businesses in the existing New Market Tax Credit; and 
  • Allowing those participating in the creative economy the same FEMA disaster benefits as other businesses. 

Pingree is the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Arts Caucus. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, where she oversees funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and other cultural agencies. She has led advocacy in the U.S. House of Representatives to incorporate robust funding for arts and cultural organizations in COVID-19 response efforts, including multiple letters that urged House leadership to support the cultural sector’s payroll and operating costs. 


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