Brazil Introduces Stipend for Culture Spending 2 Favorite 



Apr 2 2013



While governmental support for arts and culture is often meager, the Brazilian national government has recently demonstrated great interest in the industry. They've just introduced a "cultural stipend," which provides workers with 50 real (roughly $25) per month for arts and cultural expenses. The allowance covers personal spending on things like movies, concerts, books or museums.

This move was designed to make culture accessible to working and lower classes, while also stimulating the economy. Culture Minister Marta Suplicy was quoted as saying, ""There are many Brazilians, 17 million, who today earn up to five minimum wages, which could potentially means an injection of $3.5 billion in the cultural sector."

Although this appears beneficial to all, the source of funding is surprising. 90% of the stipend will be paid by employers, who can deduct the amount from their income tax, and the remaining 10% will be paid for by employees themselves. Employees can choose to opt out of the program, but it is unclear how simple that process will be. This funding structure makes the move appear more as forced cultural spending than government-sponsored spending, perhaps conceived more for the country's economic growth than the working class' access to culture.

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