In Sunday’s (3/15) Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), Peggy McGlone reports, “Several years ago, the Legislature decided the arts, history and good beaches were so essential to New Jersey that it passed laws setting a guaranteed level of funding for those entities and others. As it looks for ways to save money in a recession budget, the Corzine administration has formulated a new approach to those laws: ignore them. Since taking office, [New Jersey Governor Jon] Corzine has never fully funded the cultural offices, but this week he proposed cutting their budgets below the minimum limits required by law. … The New Jersey State Council on the Arts will receive $14.4 million, the Historical Commission $2.4 million and the New Jersey Cultural Trust $466,000. The three amounts are 25 percent less than the groups get in the current year.” The money comes from hotel and property taxes that won’t be applied because cultural funding will drop below $28.2 million to $24.9 million. “Sen. Kevin O’Toole (R-Essex) wondered why the administration would risk losing a tax that has generated hundreds of millions of dollars since 2003 in order to save a couple million dollars next year.”
Posted March 18, 2009