by | Apr 20, 2021 | SB 805 Archive | 2 comments

California Arts Advocates

Advancing California through the arts, culture and creativity

April 20, 2021

The Honorable Senator Dave Cortese
Chair, Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee
1020 N Street, Room 545, Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Support Letter for SB 805 (Rubio) Save the Performing Arts Act of 2021, As Proposed to Be Amended

Dear Senator Cortese,

We write to respectfully request your support for SB 805 (Rubio). California Arts Advocates has been working for years to find an innovative solution to address the impact of AB 5 on small nonprofit performing arts companies, (SNPAC) who act as incubators and onramps for emerging performing arts workers particularly in traditionally underserved and under resourced communities. Our goal is to see arts workers valued for their significant contributions and for there to be corresponding investment to pay arts workers a living wage.

This bill, as proposed to be amended, will create a critical funding infrastructure to help assist SNPACs known as the “California Nonprofit Performing Arts Paymaster” which will provide low-cost payroll and paymaster services to SNPACs and establish the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund to ensure that SNPACs can pay all workers minimum wage.

California has historically lacked investment within the arts and unlike regular small organizations; SNPACs are 501(c)(3) charitable organizations established to bring culture, arts and education to all communities. These companies provide access to the arts for participants, from performers, to stage technicians, writers and directors, as well as audiences, many of whom may not have the resources to buy expensive tickets to larger playhouses. SNPAC do not have full control over the size of their workforce. They serve their community and choose seasons based on the stories that resonate with and reflect the community, the artists, and the social context of the times. For example, the size of cast, the need for designers, choreographers etc. is dependent upon the playwright and requirements of the story/production. They have historically provided networking opportunities and mentorship for BIPOC artists facilitating connections necessary for career advancement and providing performance experience that helps to open doors to work in larger, less accessible companies. Furthermore, SNPACs contribute enormously to the economic growth, social well-being and cultural vitality of the local communities they serve.

Current operating revenues are insufficient to allow SNPACs to pay all workers minimum wage. SB 05 is critical to help SNPACs create and preserve job opportunities for performers and people in the performing arts sector, particularly workers in marginalized communities. Please vote “AYE” for SB 805, when it comes before you on Monday, April 26.

Julie Baker, Executive Director, 916-296-1838
cc: Members of Senate Labor, Public employment and Retirement Committee


  Download the Original Letter




  1. Karen Lin

    Thanks for your bill. Regarding “Current operating costs are insufficient to allow SNPACs to pay all workers minimum wage.” Do you mean current operating costs are too high?

    • Greg

      Yes! Small theaters generate very little revenue through their ticket sales, certainly not enough to cover all production expenses and other overhead costs such as rent, utilities and insurance.

      Small non-profit performing arts organizations already spend an inordinate amount of time fundraising to meet operating and production costs.

      SB 805 will help Small Non-Profit Performing Arts companies meet payroll requirements due to recent legislative changes.

      Thank you for your question!

      EDIT: Also, thank you for pointing out an error in the statement! It should read “current operating revenues”, not “Current operating costs”. In other words, small SNAPCs are unable to generate enough revenue in either ticket sales or fundraising in order to make enough to pay our talent onstage and back. This program will give us the necessary financial support to rectify that travesty.


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WHAT IS SB 1116?

SB 1116 establishes the Equitable Payroll Fund (EPF), which is a grant program designed to support Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations (SNPAOs) – and workers directly – by providing substantial reimbursements of payroll expenses.

This program will support jobs for anyone hired as an employee by a SNPAO, including both production and non-production employees and administrative staff, not unlike the Payroll Protection Program and similar Federal and State relief efforts.

Read our fact sheet for more information.


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