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ACT NOW: Your Voice Can Help Fund NJ’s Heritage

June 7, 2011

It’s that time again: state budget season.

We all know that the state budget can significantly impact historic preservation in New Jersey, and FY 2012 will be no different. In FY 2011, four NJ heritage icons: Battleship New Jersey, the Old Barracks Museum, Save Ellis Island and the Morven Museum and Garden; were slated to lose state funding entirely. As a quick fix last year, the budget carved out $4 million from the New Jersey Cultural Trust to sustain the Battleship  and the Old Barracks. The long term agenda was to redirect the four history icons above to the New Jersey Historical Commission for funding, which is what the Governor has proposed for FY 2012. Unfortunately, the proposed budget schedules the Commission to receive only $2.7 million in FY 2012, despite the fact that the New Jersey Hotel & Motel Occupancy Tax, which funds the Commission grants,  is estimated to draw in $70 million for FY 2012.

The New Jersey History Advocates have made it easy for you to learn more and help advocate for expanded funding from the Hotel & Motel Occupancy Tax. Expanded funding is imperative to ensure a future for Battleship New Jersey, the Old Barracks Museum, Save Ellis Island and Historic Morven, in addition to the nearly 100 other history organizations throughout the state that receive grant funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission.

1. Visit the NJ History Advocates home page, and click on the action alert button in the upper left corner of the page.

2. Click on the “Take Action Now” button at the bottom of the screen.

3. Click on your home town (from the drop down box on the left).  When  that produces the list of your district legislators, click on the box in front  of each of their names.  Then, click on the “Select Representatives” button.

4. That will bring you to the letter that we’ve already composed for you.  Just enter your contact information at the bottom of the screen and click on “Preview and Submit.”

5. On the final screen, click on “Submit Letter.”

Spread the word to anyone with an interest in promoting New Jersey history. The Hotel & Motel Occupancy Tax was initiated to fund New Jersey’s cultural organizations because of their ability to enhance tourism. Expanded funding to the cultural community will ensure that heritage tourism will continue to grow and New Jersey’s rich historical attractions will be shared for generations to come.

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