Cultural Access Fund

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Next week, I am adding to the City’s state lobbying agenda support for creating a regional Cultural Access Fund.

The fund would empower local governments to ask voters if they want to increase their sales or property taxes or impose a use tax of some kind in order to fund expanded access to our state’s many cultural organizations, from aquariums to arts organizations to zoos.

The program also includes an education component expanding cultural experiences at schools, cultural and scientific educational organizations; transporting students to cultural and scientific educational organizations; and placing special emphasis on schools participating in reduced price school-meal programs.

The bill is being proposed by the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Prosperity Partnership, along with a coalition of organizations from across the state.

The Prosperity Partnership believes in supporting a nonprofit arts, culture, and scientific industry that generates a lot of business in our region. And, I agree.

Nonprofit arts alone in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish Counties generates close to $2 billion in the Central Puget Sound’s economy, creating 32,520 jobs, $882 million in labor income and $83 million in taxes. And in Seattle, over $447.6 million in annual economic activity is generated, creating 10,807 full-time equivalent jobs, $248.2 million in household income, and $38.2 million in local and state government revenues.

Aside from this economic argument is the fact culture provides essential ingredients for living: joy, wonder and a deeper understanding of life. While we would survive without it, such survival would be too dull to bear.

Before the next state legislative session starts, I will contact Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, sponsors of last session’s bill, to hear their thoughts on prospects for this bill in the upcoming session, particularly in light of recent statewide elections. My hope is to see a bi-partisan bill pass next year.


For more information, visit the Prosperity Partnership and click on “Cultural Access Fund” on the lefthand side.


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