The most recent Column for Brian Hicks in The Post and Courier discusses our statehouse and legislators not seeing the values in museums.
He further discusses that the problem, while it is less so in the State Senate, is glaringly apparent in our State House of Representatives, as they did not even entertain the African American museum spending as a part of the budget package they proposed.
I will say this as my position on spending taxpayer money on this type of investment. I would be inclined to support this type of infrastructure and educational spending, with a couple of caveats.
1) Taxpayer money that is earmarked in the budget for this particular type of spending has to include a "pay for". This can be disbursed back to the general fund via a percentage of admission sales and private sponsorships at the institution in question. I think of it as a sort of zero interest loan provided by the state. We shouldn't make money back off the back of the institution, but we shouldn't be myopic to think we can't be a part of the solution.
2) These institutions must be required to form a partnership with the local school districts, providing educational space and free access to local schools to visit the museum. They should also be a resource for curriculum development for our local school districts. This is a way to use taxpayer dollars most effectively. It is essentially stretching each dollar into two.
Given the rich history of our local area, having more educational institutions only makes sense. As I stated in reference to economic growth, museums serve to foster this economic expansion as well. We can do this in a manner that is revenue neutral, drives economic growth, and adds value to each taxpayer dollar invested. It really is a win-win-win.
We need legislators who will be at the tip of the spear.