VOTE YES - Jersey City Arts & Culture Trust Fund

VOTE YES - Jersey City Arts & Culture Trust Fund

Hello Jersey City Residents & Friends of JC Residents,

I'm reaching out because if you haven't already, you'll be receiving your ballot in the mail soon. Before you send it out, I urge you to VOTE YES to the Jersey City municipal referendum question. The referendum asks you to agree to a modest increase in property taxes in order to support arts and culture nonprofits and arts programs in Jersey City. The tax will be between $25 and $50 a year. 

I understand that a potential tax increase of any kind, for any reason, is never warmly embraced. As a homeowner here, I don't normally jump for joy and sing a happy tune when it's time to pay my taxes, but if the referendum passes this year, I will do just that when I receive my bill. 

For the past few years, I've been working to help put this referendum on the ballot and I believe that now, more than ever, this tax is an investment in our city, in our values, and in Jersey City's economic recovery from the pandemic.

Here are 9 other reasons why you should VOTE YES and support the arts in Jersey City:

  1. The nonprofit arts industry in Jersey City alone generates a significant impact for Jersey City’s economy. In 2019, the economic impact of the top 10 nonprofit arts groups was $7,657,000 supporting the full-time equivalent of 266 jobs.
  2. The Arts drive commerce to local businesses. 72% of Americans and even a higher percentage of New Jerseyans attend arts or cultural events, such as the theater, museum, or a musical performance. Arts attendees spend $31.47 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission.
  3. The Arts grow the creative economy. 60% of employed adults say that the more creative and innovative they are at their job, the more successful they are in the workplace. Creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders. Engagement in the arts is among the top indicators of creativity.
  4. The Arts promote tourism. As travel restrictions begin to lift, arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences. 34% of arts attendees live outside the county in which the arts event takes place; they spend an average of $47.57 apiece. 14% had a lodging cost and spent $162 per person.
  5. The Arts unify communities and provide shared experiences. 72% of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity;” 81% of the population says the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world”
  6. The Arts are a partner in education. Students with an arts education have higher GPAs, standardized test scores, and more college-going as well as lower drop-out rates. These academic benefits are reaped by students regardless of socio-economic status.
  7. The arts improve civic pride. Public art enhances the identity and character of the community and promotes tourism, which attracts and retains new economy workers and businesses. 
  8. The Arts support the health and well-being of the military. The arts heal the mental, physical, and moral injuries of war for military service members and Veterans as well as aid in their reintegration into the community. Creative arts therapies are consistently ranked in the top four interventions and treatments for effectiveness.
  9. The Arts promote healthy communities. 21% of Local Arts Nonprofits use the arts to address physical and mental health issues in their community. 73% of the population feels the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in.”

Here's more information about the arts bill, the poll that was conducted to test viability in Jersey City, and FAQs -

This year has been filled with so much pain and disappointment, but I'm going to make a safe assumption the arts have helped you and your family through it in some way. Whether you've read a book, watched a movie, saw Hamilton on Disney+, listened to music, seen an online show, watched comedy, etc. The arts have been a bright spot and they remind us about what's good in life. Our Jersey City arts community has pivoted to online programming and has helped keep our community connected. When all is fully safe, we'll help Jersey City get back on its feet with live arts events. We'll partner with restaurants, and other small businesses, and get people back to celebrating life again. VOTE YES. Keep the arts alive.

Please reach out if you have any questions.

Meredith Burns