For Immediate Release
ARLINGTON, VA – February 26, 2019 – Hundreds of museum leaders from across the country today urged Senators and Congressional Representatives to increase funding for federal agencies that support museums and to pass legislation that incentivizes charitable donations to museums.
Public opinion polling data shows that 96% of Americans would think positively of their elected officials taking legislative action to support museums.
Museums support more than 726,000 American jobs and contribute $50 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The economic activity of museums generates more than $12 billion in annual tax revenue, with one-third of it going to state and local governments. Each job created by the museum sector results in $16,495 in additional tax revenue.
“Museums are vital for society, both culturally and economically,” said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums, which convened and organized more than 300 meetings with museum leaders and legislative offices during Museums Advocacy Day. “One of the most significant areas of pain during the recent government shutdown was the public, including school groups, being unable to access many of their museums. Our taste of a world without museums was very bitter. We must find ways to support these centers of learning and community anchors across the country.”
AAM has identified several key priorities:
- Pass a universal charitable deduction, such as H.R. 1260 or H.R. 651, allowing taxpayers to deduct their charitable contributions, regardless of whether they itemize; Repeal the new Unrelated Business Income Tax on expenses that charities incur in providing transportation fringe benefits to employees; and pass the Artist-Museum Partnership Act, which would allow artists to claim a fair market value deduction when they donate their own work to a collecting institution.
- Fund the Office of Museum Services (within the Institute of Museum & Library Services) at its newly reauthorized level of $38.6 million in FY 2020.
“In order for museums and similar institutions all across the country, to continue to thrive, we have to ensure that legislation at the federal level provides a level playing field in terms of the tax code and federal funding. We also must impress upon legislators that museums employ their constituents, generate tax revenue for the areas they represent and generate even more in terms of economic impact,” said Laura Lott, President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.
About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.