Jersey City Votes For New Tax to Establish Arts and Culture Trust Fund

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Jersey City Passes New Tax For Art Culture Fund
The City of Jersey City has long been a proponent of the arts. Image via Instagram.

While the local headline from last week’s elections is undoubtedly New Jersey’s soon-to-be legalization of marijuana, voters in Jersey City also voiced their support for a new tax that will support various cultural activities.

During the November 3 elections, a public question was put to Jersey City voters asking if they would support a municipal art and culture tax levy. The proposal would establish an additional property tax designed to fund the arts and was supported by just over 36,555 of those that voted, with about 21,000 who cast their ballots opposed.

With the support of 63.6% of the voting public, the plan now heads to the City Council for approval. A final tax rate under the deal has not been set in stone, but the proposed levy is likely to fall between half a penny and two cents for every $100 of a home’s assessed property value.

The municipal art and culture tax would be the first in the state if enacted in Jersey City and could produce a revenue stream for local arts organizations and individuals of about $1 million to $2 million per year. The Arts and Culture Trust Fund would support creative and cultural activities that include fine arts, music, dance, graphic design, film, digital media, architecture, and urban design.

Potential recipients would have to apply to receive the program’s funds, which could be made available as soon as next year. The City Council has not yet announced when a final plan regarding the arts levy could be voted on and it remains to be seen if a finalized deal emerges before their upcoming December 2 meeting.

Planning to create Jersey City’s Arts and Culture Trust Fund goes back to February when Mayor Steve Fulop announced that a public question on the matter was imminent. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Fulop to re-evaluate the proposal, with the mayor going so far as to ask the council to withdraw the public question.

It’s unclear when the new tax could be assessed against Jersey City’s property owners, although more specifics should emerge in the coming weeks as an ordinance on the matter is finalized.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. So *art* bureaucrats in Jersey City deciding what’s art and what’s not? Who gets funding and who doesn’t? I’m against it. First off there’s not going to be enough money to go around to all the artists who will apply. Second, there’s no mention of what sort of criteria will be used to vet the artists- will sexual or political or religious themed work be off limits. I believe if this is not done with a panel of professional artists, established art dealers or curators, , or someone with an advanced degree in the contemporary art scene then the result is going to be very mediocre and half-baked.

  2. Sweet Jesus how did I miss this………this is exactly what I’m talking about: The Monopoly street painting in the above illustration was actually COMMISSIONED by the JC Arts Council and then CENSORED and DESTROYED two days later because they didn’t approve of the message and imagery contained in the piece including depicting a cop as a PIG!!…….you can’t make this stuff up…….

  3. In response to XTC the new art tax is really a clever disguise for a huge bill the city owes. We the taxpayers are footing the bill through this new art tax for over 1 million dollars lost to a case involving a former female member of the jcpd. I don’t think an overwhelming majority of citizens voted FOR a new tax and yet the corrupt city council okays it anyway. Once the bill is finally paid, the art tax will go up for a new vote of approval and will be denied and a new tax comes into play. Its all a racket here.

  4. This tax is forced charity. Also possibly used to cover loses. Either way we all agree funding “artists” doesn’t make the city better, improve its economy and quality of life one iota.

    I bet there will be 2 or 3 more of these bogus taxes im the next couple of years.

  5. So does that mean a property valued $1,000,000 would have to pay $200 extra taxes…assuming per year? And if your house is assessed at $100,000 additional $20. If that’s the case I’m all for it! definitely have a qualified committee to make the decisions. Not just random people in city hall.

    We definitely need to support art with the heavy tech scene growing in NYC and JC unless you want the city to turn into techies.

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