NJ budget passed – YOU helped cultural funding get partial restoration

The NJ State Budget is nearing completion. After much debate it was passed yesterday and is awaiting Governor Corzine’s signature.

Due to your extraordinary advocacy efforts, (like those of arts advocate extraordinaire, Maris Smith, of the NJ Theatre Alliance, pictured in the photo. Maris carried the message to countless theatre audience members of ALL ages), the FY09 budget contains the following recommendations:

  • Restoration of $3.254 million to the NJSCA for Cultural Projects bringing the total appropriation to $19.254 million (a 12% reduction).
  • Restoration of $606,000 to the NJ Historical Commission bringing the total appropriation to $3.306 million. (This budget still cuts $164,000 (32%) from the NJHC administrative budget and totally wipes out a $189,000 Project Grants line item).
  • Restoration of $121,000 to the NJ Cultural Trust bringing the total appropriation to $621,000.
  • Restoration of $1.019 million to the NJ Division of Travel & Tourism bringing the total appropriation to $10.019 million.

You should also know that your district visits to legislators paid off big time! No less than 5 budget resolution requests were submitted to restore various amounts of state funding to the cultural projects budget and all cited the dedicated revenue source of state dollars through the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Fee. One budget resolution request sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle was co-sponsored by 26 other members of the Assembly. A special thank you to the district captains and teams who helped make this happen along with over 16,000 letters and emails sent by YOU since late February when the budget was proposed by the administration.

ArtPride will provide you with a list of all of our legislative champions after the budget is signed. We believe that Governor Corzine will sign the budget with these recommendations, but remember that the process is not complete until the budget is signed. Your letters and emails of support are still encouraged and welcomed, and we will post a thank you letter at Action Alert on the ArtPride NJ web site once the process has ended for this fiscal year.

Thank you so much for your hard work and for sticking to the message. There is very little in the way of restoration to other departments or agencies, so we have much to be grateful for and we are VERY grateful for your support! We will keep you posted of the advocacy plan for the fall. And finally–and this is important–if you are not an ArtPride member, please consider joining NOW. Advocacy is not cheap and we need your financial support to sustain our efforts. Membership starts at $15 for students. Please join ArtPride today by clicking here (Paypal can take your online membership!).

Mark Packer
President, ArtPride NJ
Ann Marie Miller
Executive Director, ArtPride NJ

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