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Pennsylvania State Senate
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Senate Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 26, 2015 03:24 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne and Sen. Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: PA Museum Preservation Act
 
In the near future, Senator Costa and I will be re-introducing legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act.

Co-sponsors from last session were: ALLOWAY, HUGHES , ARGALL , SCHWANK, FONTANA , WILLIAMS , YAW, YUDICHAK, FARNESE, LEACH , SMITH, WOZNIAK , BLAKE, and BREWSTER.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee issued a report on the economic impact of museums in Pennsylvania. Tourism is one of Pennsylvania's largest industries injecting approximately $33 billion annually into the Commonwealth's economy and museums play a large role in this sector. By one estimate, 13,000 staff persons are employed by Pennsylvania's museums and more than 25,000 Pennsylvania's businesses are involved in arts and culture related creative enterprises.

In the last few years funding has been reduced for both state-owned and nonstate-owned museums. As a result, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee recommended the exploration of creative funding strategies for funding museums and cultural activities.

Therefore, we are proposing a consistent source of funding to assist Pennsylvania museums that do not receive general operating support from other state sources. This plan is a first step in funding a program that is streamlined, uses a verified, accepted list of museums, allows for operating support and multi-year funding, and is distributed on performance-based, verifiable criteria to eligible museums aligned with national standards.

We are proposing providing $10 million annually from a portion of the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax (approximately 1% of collections) separate from, and in addition to, the existing Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation fund, to fund a museum grant program. Funds would be distributed by the PHMC to qualified Pennsylvania museums that commit to the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Pledge of Excellence.”

The following are the types of museums that would be eligible to apply:
Botanic Gardens and Arboreta Children’s Museums
History Museums Historical Societies
Historic Houses/Sites Military and Maritime Museums
Natural History Museums Nature Centers
Planetariums Science and Technology Centers
General Museums with two or more equally significant disciplines

Museums that meet the AAM definition of museum and with operating budgets of more than $100,000 may apply for grants of up to 15% of their operating budget. AAM accredited museums will be eligible for an additional grant of up to 1% of their operating budget. These grants will not exceed $500,000 each.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this important initiative. If you need further information, please feel free to contact our offices.


Introduced as SB170