San Antonio Arts Agency Funding program cut by 20%, mayor says

Cut caused by decimated hotel occupancy tax

Photo: Anna Kolosyuk/Unsplash

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic has led to a budget cut in the Arts Agency Funding program, according to San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

During his daily briefing on Wednesday evening, Nirenberg confirmed that the budget amounts to a 20% cut for the rest of the fiscal year.

The funding program invests in arts and cultural programs designed to engage audiences and showcase San Antonio’s diverse community.

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The program’s funding comes from the city’s hotel occupancy tax, which has dwindled due to the pandemic.

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“We’re working on taking some actions that help address the shortages,” Nirenberg said, referring to potential emergency funding the city is working to obtain.

The decision was not an easy one to make, Nirenberg said. He said arts and culture are a “vital” part of the community.

“We hope we can weather this storm but because of the (hotel occupancy) tax revenue loss it’s very difficult to maintain the same levels of funding,” Nirenberg said.

The latest numbers provided by Visit San Antonio on Wednesday indicate the city has lost more than $65 million in economic impact due to 19 canceled conventions and the cancellations of several other events.

San Antonio typically brings in $96 million a year in hotel occupancy tax, but since the pandemic hit, occupancy rates are less than 10%.