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Arts, Tourism Get Boost With NJ Bill [AUDIO]

A measure recently advanced by committees in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature would hike the minimum amount of funding devoted to the state’s arts, historical and tourism organizations.

The State Theatre in New Brunswick
Flickr: StateTheatreNJ

New Jersey’s hotel and motel occupancy fee has been bringing in more and more revenue, but the percentage devoted to arts and tourism has dropped. Communities have seen their funds plummet in recent years, from close to $40 million in 2005 to $28.8 million under the current budget.

The bill would restore the minimum dedicated amount over three years to levels last seen in 2005.

“Arts and history help put heads in beds in hotels and motels throughout the state,” said Ann Marie Miller, executive director of ArtPride New Jersey. “We’ve been held to a certain level of support, and we’re trying to regain what we lost over 10 years.”

Funding was allowed to dwindle due to a “poison pill” provision placed in the 2003 law that enacted the hotel-motel fee. As long as arts, history and tourism funding stayed above $28.2 million, there would be no problem. If it dropped below that level, though, the funding would be eliminated.

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