The reform of tbe National Cultural Fund
In Hungary, the National Cultural Fund- with its bodies whose members are renowned experts of art and economy- is a focal institute of financing culture and, at the same time, a guarantee for the self-governance of Hungary's cultural sector. The National Cultural Fund grants support to proposals and projects that have been selected by its specialised bodies. The structure of these bodies reflects the separation of the branches of art and the various subsystems of the cultural sector. The objective of this structure is to support and pay attention to all cultural sectors as much as circumstances allow and thus to promote and preserve the diversity of cultural expressions.
The National Cultural Fund does not rely exclusively on public resources. As it does not receive resources from the central budget, it contributes to the financial independence of the cultural sector; therefore, it does not have to fall back on lobbying for resources for culture. Since its foundation in 1993, the Fund has had its own revenues. Until 2009, this revenue was a 'cultural contribution': the National Cultural Fund received a certain part of the price of cultural products of certain categories. For products with violent or pornographic
content, the contribution was higher. This system, however, was practically based on the taxation of Hungarian culture itself; with the change of environment after Hungary's accession to the European Union, the reform became inevitable.
In 2009, with the reform of the National Cultural Fund, the cultural contribution was eliminated. The new revenue of the Fund is the 90% of the game tax levied on lottery. Thus the reform eliminated the cultural contribution whose legitimacy and efficiency were questionable- thus eliminating the taxation of culture as well-and, at the same time, increased the financial resources that can be used by the National Cultural Fund and, thus, for supporting cultural expressions.
At the moment, the National Cultural Fund has nine permanent specialised bodies (the Departments for Performing Arts, for Architecture and Protection of Heritage, for the Publication of Periodicals, for the Publication of Books, for Public Collections, for Education and Folk Art, for Cultural Festivals, for BellesLettres and Raising Public Awareness, and for Visual Arts) and three temporary bodies. The Fund, besides financing culture in Hungary, supports the presence of Hungarian culture abroad, thus promoting cultural diversity.