New Jersey considers spending more on arts, historic heritage and marketing
State funds for the arts, historical heritage programs, and promoting tourism will increase if a bill advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee becomes law.
The measure would boost funding from the hotel and motel occupancy tax that goes to the New Jersey Council on the Arts to $30 million. The New Jersey Historical Commission would get $10 million.
"Funding is needed. It's been at the same level for about seven years now. It's very important to get a boost," said Ann Marie Miller of ArtPride New Jersey, a coalition of arts organizations. "The money goes toward arts programming, history programs. What it does is it leverages additional income from the private sector."
The occupancy tax revenue dedicated to promote tourism would go up to $15 million. Sen. Jim Whelan said marketing the state is a good investment because attracting more tourists means more money for the state's economy.
"We underfund our tourism advertising efforts in the state compared to our surrounding states," said Whelan, D-Atlantic. "So it's an effort to try to get more money into tourism. For every dollar you spend on advertising, there's that many more dollars that come back."
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