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Saturday, May 18, 2024

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Bill to Increase Funding for Arts, Historical Heritage and Tourism Advances

Sen. Michael Testa

By Press Release

TRENTON – A bill, sponsored by Sens. Michael Testa (R-1st) and Vin Gopal (D-11th), that would increase the allocation of revenues from the hotel and motel occupancy fee toward arts, historical heritage, and tourism purposes was passed out of the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.
According to a release, under bill S-2986, 100% of the hotel and motel occupancy fee revenues would be allocated, up from the current level of 40%.
“With a more dependable, stable funding source, beneficial arts and preservation programs throughout the state will be better positioned to serve New Jersey residents,” stated Testa. “Committing a generous portion of the money from the occupancy tax to tourism will create a cycle bringing more visitors to the state, higher room occupancy rates, and additional revenue to pour back into these programs. Cape May County sends almost a half-billion dollars in tourism tax to Trenton and only about $1 million comes back in return. It is time to pass legislation, so we can invest in our tourism economy to bolster our community.”
The fund generated approximately $112 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
“The hotel-motel occupancy fee has been around for nearly 20 years, but that dedicated revenue has not always been plowed back into the arts, historic preservation or tourism, as it should have been,” stated Gopal. “We need to solidify support for these institutions that are so much a part of our state’s identity.
“This bill would make sure all the monies generated would be targeted towards New Jersey artists, historic sites and tourist attractions, where it could then be paid forward by attracting more patrons and tourists and, in the process, boosting local economies across the state.”
Under the legislation, the revenue would be allocated as follows:

  • 56.7% would go to the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for cultural projects, as long as the actual dollar amount allocated is at least $31.9 million
  • 9.6% would go to the New Jersey Historical Commission for historical heritage purposes, as long as at least $5.5 million is allocated
  • 31.9% would go to the Division of Travel and Tourism in the Department of State for tourism, as long as at least $17.6 million is allocated
  • 1.8% would go to the New Jersey Cultural Trust, as long as the amount is not less than $720,000

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