An Amendment I'm In Favor Of

In Minnesota tomorrow, voters will weigh in on adding an amendment to the state constitution that would create a significant amount of money for the arts:

[. . .] this amendment is important. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help solidify some of the best things about this state. Its beneficiaries aren’t just limited to the hunters and the canoeists and the gallery-goers: This small investment of money is good for all of us.

To recap: The amendment, officially known as the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, would raise the sales tax by 3/8ths of 1 percent. That’s less than what you throw in the extra-penny jar at the convenience store when you buy a $1.99 bottle of water.

The money would raise about $300 million a year for the next 25 years. Most would go to preserving clean water, parks and trails and other environmental causes. Just less than 20 percent, about $59 million a year, would go to cultural endeavors and efforts across the state. Pioneer Press

I honestly have no idea if other states have this sort of fiscal allocation for the arts in their constitutions or not. But personally, I think this is fantastic, especially when you consider that the FY08 budget for the New York State Council on the Arts (which I believe is the most well funded state arts council in the country) is just over $60 million.

Dominic Papatola might go a bit over-the-top in emphasizing why people should vote for the “Legacy Amendment”

arts of all kinds thrive on scales of all sorts, and it touches our lives in ways we don’t even recognize. Exposure to and participation in the arts increases standardized test scores. It’s good for the business climate. It helps us understand our times, our problems, our destiny and ourselves.

but I agree with his core beliefs and I think it would be really cool to see a community enlightened enough to vote in an amendment that would specifically increase arts funding. (And of course funding for the environment.)

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