From the Star Ledger:
A New Jersey lawmaker is pushing for a new tax designed to fund local arts initiatives.
Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Jersey City, introduced a bill in the New Jersey Legislature last week that would allow municipalities to ask voters to approve an arts tax, a levy that would mirror one that creates a fund for open space and historic landmark projects. Voters in over 200 New Jersey municipalities have approved open space taxes.
The push for increased arts funding began in Jersey City last year, when local groups campaigned to obtain city dollars to fund arts programs and organizations. After an initial plan to add a municipal tax to Uber and Lyft rides fell through, Mayor Steve Fulop teamed up with Mukherji on the current proposal.
“Jersey City has galleries and arts districts with live-work zoning and an infrastructure that could help incubate legends,” Mukherji said in a statement from the city. “But without a dedicated and recurring funding source, we will never reach our potential.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has proposed a $37.4 billion state budget that includes $1.6 billion in new taxes and fees. Matt Rooney, an attorney and conservative blogger who is critical of Murphy’s tax plans, told The Jersey Journal New Jersey’s high taxes are forcing residents to flee the state.
“No proliferation of sidewalk murals, dance troops or street festivals can fix that,” Rooney said. “If you want to aid the arts in New Jersey? Stop forcing its patrons to relocate to Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Wake County, North Carolina with more taxes.”