Schatz reintroduces legislation to support creative workers and small businesses
US Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today reintroduced the Promoting Local Arts and Creative Economy Workforce (PLACE) Act. The legislation aims to support workers and small businesses in creative industries by increasing federal resources and expanding federal benefits for those using creativity and skill in their employment.
“Creative workers support local arts and innovation, help different cultures tell their stories, and bring people together as a society. It’s the kind of work we should invest in – and doing so will create jobs, help small businesses, and grow our economy,” said Sen. Schatz, who serves as a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.
The creative economy includes individuals and businesses focused on individual creativity, skill, talent, or expression of indigenous culture or regional or local heritage culture, and which operate, are employed by, or contract with creative economy businesses.
As of 2019, the creative economy adds $919.7 billion a year to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, produces a $33 billion trade surplus in the sector, and has a rate of growth that nearly doubles the rest of the economy, according to Sen. Schatz. While the sector was among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, creative workers and businesses have started to resume operations due to strong demand for their services.
According to Sen. Schatz, this growth and resiliency of the creative economy has occurred despite federal workforce, education, trade, tax, disaster, and economic development policies largely ignoring the needs of the industry.
“The PLACE Act will empower creative workers, help foster growth in new and existing businesses, and promote the export of American culture abroad. In turn, these investments will help revitalize and strengthen both our national and local economies now and into the future,” he said.
Specifically, the PLACE Act seeks to do the following:
- Establishes an interagency council to encourage development of the creative economy;
- Adapts state and local workforce plans, Native American Programs, Dislocated Worker Grants, Corrections Education, Small Business Technical Assistance, Career and Technical Education, Work Study, Economic Adjustment, and Veterans Affairs programs under Title 38 to include, promote, and strengthen the creative economy workforce;
- Encourages the Foreign Commercial Service to stimulate the export of creative economy goods;
- Ensures that the creative economy is taken into consideration in the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee’s annual government-wide strategic plan;
- Provides tailored access to Export-Import Bank services for creative economy businesses;
- Expands the export promotion of creative products designed by American Indian tribes to include products created by American Indian-, Alaska Native-, and Native Hawaiian-owned businesses;
- Supports job creation through creative economy wage-subsidy and apprenticeship grants;
- Updates the tax code to provide robust deductions for artists’ works and the performing artists tax credit; and
- Allows creative economy workers and businesses the same FEMA disaster benefits as those in other sectors.
In the Senate, this legislation is cosponsored by US Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Companion legislation in the US House of Representatives has been introduced by US Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
The PLACE Act follows last month’s introduction of the bipartisan CREATE Act, which supports those in creative industries by expanding the Microloan Program qualifications to include artists and arts entrepreneurs and small businesses in the creative economy; directing the Small Business Administration to develop procedures evaluating the business proposals and plans of small businesses within the creative economy; and establishing a program to examine helping local arts agencies and nonprofits with planning grants, among other directives.
The PLACE Act is supported by Paliku Theatre, Hawai‘i Thespians, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, Maui Community Theater, Maui Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, The Actors’ Group, ʻŌlelo Community Media, Akakū Maui Community Media, Hōʻike Kauaʻi Community Television, Etsy, eBay, Patreon, Arts Workers United, Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, National Association for the Self Employed, Americans for the Arts, Freelancers Union, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, SAG-AFTRA, The Actors Fund, Actors Equity, IATSE, National Employment Law Project, Writers Guild of America-East, Writers Guild of America-West, Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for an Urban Future, Hawai‘i Arts Alliance, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Carnegie Hall, CERF+, Artrain, American Alliance of Museums, League of American Orchestras, and more than 100 state and local creative economy organizations.