Well the legislature is considering severe cuts in the funding for NJ arts, history and tourism. Some people may on the face of it it say that these are frivolous expenditures anyway when we have so many other pressing issues in this state. The thing is – these investments, and yes they ARE investments, actually bring back more money than what is spent. The money is then used to fund the many things that new Jerseyans find so necessary. Without this money coming into the state from visitors, New Jerseyans would be paying $1500 more in taxes a year! For every dollar spend on promoting tourism, the state receives back $36. Now you tell me – what investment do you have in your stock portfolio, IRA, mutual fund – that has a $36 return on investment?
To combat this very misguided budget proposal, the organization – ArtPride, which promotes the arts in New Jersey – is asking people to submit a letter to their legislators and representatives. It is very easy to do and will take only about 5 minutes.
Here is the letter which i sent –
Please keep state funding for the arts, history and tourism at their current level of support. New Jersey's non-profit arts and history industry sparks over $2 billion in economic activity throughout our State each year. At the same time, tourism contributes even more to the state treasury. For every dollar invested by the state, the tourism industry brings in $36 to the state. They are part of the solution to the fiscal crisis New Jersey finds itself in--not the problem! Please remember that state cultural dollars are derived from a dedicated revenue source (NJ Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee). This certifiable, renewable source of revenue was established to create a stable source of state cultural support. For FY09 this revenue is projected to grow to $90 million--that is $53 million above what is necessary to fund cultural organizations and comply with legislation! State funding cuts will hurt education programs provided at low cost to school districts that need help from non profit cultural groups. Restaurants are empty when theaters are dark. Our state's tourism industry depends on cultural tourists who spends more than the average visitor to New Jersey. How can we continue to support the subsidizing of New York and Philadelphia's economy by building billion dollar tunnels and expanding rail lines, not to mention the transportation costs for our roadways that New Jerseyans are forced to foot the bill on, carrying OUR residents and tax dollars out of our state and into these foreign cities? Yet at the same time. our cities, such as Camden, Trenton, Jersey City, Newark, etc still flounder. Skyscrapers are going up on either side of the river giving New Jerseyans a place to work, while our cities house vacant lots and boarded up store fronts. How can we continue to export our jobs from OUR cities, while not investing in areas that bring and sustain New JERSEY'S economy? It is time to put New JERSEY first! Stop subsidizing the economies of New York and Philadelphia and let's start INVESTING in New JERSEY for a change. Philadelphia and New York understand tourism and the need to promote cultural and historic institutions and make the necessary investments to attract outside visitors and their money. Not only do New Jerseyans support these foreign cities by working there, we go to their museums, their theaters, their restaurants. Every time a New Jerseyan goes across the river to see a Broadway play, have dinner or go to a museum, that is LOST revenue not only to the state of New Jersey, but that is less money that New Jerseyans have to spend in OUR restaurants, theaters and cultural institutions. We need to build up our funding for these things, not only to attract the outside visitor and the money they bring into our economy, but to keep New Jerseyan's money in New Jersey where it gets reinvested in OUR state. Is New Jersey to become only a state that houses the workers of New York and Philadelphia? Will we have to rely solely on these cities for our cultural entertainment, thus exporting even more of our money out of the state? Will our GREAT cities become mere suburbs of New York and Philadelphia - or will OUR cities be the cultural icons that they deserve to be and places we can be proud of? I urge you to support restored cultural and tourism funding--it's not only the fiscally right thing to do, it's morally the right thing to do! Sincerely, Robert Rosetta
ArtPride does provide a form letter which you can change. I obviously added some additional items in my letter.
To lend your support – simply go to the Art Pride’s Take Action page, enter in your zip code (must be a NJ zip code/address) and then click on the NJ Arts & History Make Dollars & Sense! – Help Restore State Cultural Funding! link