New Jersey could allows towns to pursue taxes to subsidize the arts

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji says arts organizations need a sustainable source of revenue, which his bill would help create. (Phil Murphy/WHYY)

New Jersey Assemblyman Raj Mukherji says arts organizations need a sustainable source of revenue, which his bill would help create. (Phil Murphy/WHYY)

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would allow cities and towns to seek voter approval for a local tax to fund arts programs and organizations.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji said the tax would provide a recurring source of revenue for the arts in communities that decide to approve it.

“Take Jersey City in my home district, my hometown, we’ve got live-work spaces for artists, we’ve got zoning, we’ve got galleries. But we’ll never realize our true potential as an arts destination without a dedicated funding source. And this would allow that,” he said.

The levy would show up on the property tax bills that are sent to residents.

Mukherji said the legislation could create a model for the nation.

“Vibrant communities thrive when the preforming arts, the visual arts, music, culture are part of what are valued by these communities,” he said. “It’s something that brings people together.”

If the bill is enacted, Jersey City officials plan to pursue voter approval of an arts tax.

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