Sen. Portantino issues $300m request to Budget Committee

by | Apr 27, 2022 | Press Release | 2 comments

Big news today! Senator Portantino (author of the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund) has sent the formal request to the State Budget Committee! This is a crucial step on the road to funding SB 1116! Read the text of his letter below, or click here to see the original!

April 25, 2022

Subject: Investment in the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund of $300 million over 3 years

As the Legislature deliberates their budget priorities, I request consideration of an investment of $300 million over 3 years in California’s Small Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations as well as the local creative communities in California.

Small nonprofit performing arts organizations (SNPAOs) play a major role in the arts and culture ecosystem in California, which represents 7.4% of the state’s economy. When properly funded, the performing arts can be an economic engine that drives spending in local communities and allows workers to prosper. Prior to the pandemic, California ranked just 28th in arts funding. Unfortunately, years of underinvestment have meant that California’s SNPAOs do not have the financial or administrative resources to support hourly wages and are facing an uncertain future.

The vast majority of the nearly 1,200 SNPAOs have adjusted gross revenues below $250,000 and with proper funding, SNPAOs can continue to be job creation engines due to the large number of creative workers required to produce an opera, ballet, symphony or play. An investment in the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund will stabilize the sector and provide tens of thousands of seasonal opportunities each year. Supporters estimate that once all eligible organizations are enrolled in the program, as many as 90,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal employment opportunities will be created annually.

Furthermore, the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund will allow for living wages for creative workers that will help restore the livelihoods of individuals who work in a sector that has been slow to recover from the pandemic.

An investment in the Performing Arts Equitable Payroll Fund will offer meaningful employment to all creative talents in the arts incubator pipeline which is essential to preserve California’s position as a global leader in arts and entertainment.

The EPF will allow these opportunities to be compensated with living wages and worker protections. I respectfully request that a $300 million investment over 3 years to be considered as the legislative budget package is developed and finalized in the coming weeks.

Hon. Anthony J. Portantino
25th Senate District


  1. Donna Peacher-Hall

    I support this bill for small theatres.

    Donna Peacher-Hall
    Co-President of the
    Victory Theatre Center Board of Directors

  2. Anne Brown

    The Auburn Symphony wholeheartedly supports this bill, and respectfully joins other small arts organizations in lending our voice to the urgent request for this legislation. As we begin our return to a regular season of concert programming, and with Covid concerns a steady presence in our lives, we are at risk of an uncertain future due to such a long period of no earned income and other Covid relief funding drying up. Thank you!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.


Get The Facts




Click Here