(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton, Ralph Caputo, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Paul Moriarty, Patricia Jones and Gabriela Mosquera to boost funding for tourism, the arts and historic preservation was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3555) would increase the minimum amount that the Director of the Division of Taxation must allocate from the state's hotel and motel occupancy fee revenues for cultural projects, historical heritage programs, and tourism advertisement and promotion.
"New Jersey has a wealth of historical and cultural attractions. This is not just a source of pride, but an economic opportunity that we must cultivate and capitalize on," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "By investing in our deep, rich history and promoting our cultural assets, we can help preserve it while boosting our economy and improving our overall economic outlook."
"If done right, cultural and historical tourism can benefit both local economies and the state's economy," said Caputo (D-Essex). "Promoting what we have to offer is simply good for business."
"Arts, culture and history have the potential to turn around communities," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "It is vital that we support the organizations charged with spearheading these efforts."
"A strong arts community means jobs and economic development," said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). "An investment in the arts is an investment in our economic future."
"New Jersey is rich in history," said Jones (D-Camden/Gloucester). "It is important that we promote it not just for the economic benefits, but to reshape uninformed views of our state."
"We have seen the impact that the arts and culture have had on communities that once struggled to thrive," said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). "This is an investment worth making."
Under current law, the director is required to allocate 22.68 percent of the total hotel and motel occupancy fees collected to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for cultural projects, provided that the actual dollar amount allocated is at least $22.68 million. The bill would increase the minimum dollar amount that the director must allocate for cultural projects to $31.9 million.
Current law requires the director to allocate 3.84 percent of hotel and motel occupancy fees collected to the New Jersey Historical Commission for historical heritage purposes, provided that at least $3.84 million is allocated. The bill would increase that minimum amount to $5.5 million.
Current law requires the director to allocate 12.76 percent of hotel and motel occupancy fees collected to the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State for tourism advertisement and promotion, provided at least $12.76 million is allocated. The bill would increase that minimum amount to $17.6 million.
The bill would apply to revenues collected for occupancies during State Fiscal Year 2017 and thereafter.
The bill would take effect immediately.
The bill was released by the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee.