Dear Members of the Museum Community:
I am passing along to you information provided to me by Gary Johnson, President of Museums In the Park concerning possible funding for museums in the Illinois State Capital bill. You will find an overview of the proposal below, as well as talking points for your elected officials. Please take time to talk to your legislators about this important matter.
Dave Oberg, President
Illinois Association of Museums
Dear Museum Partner:
Larry Suffredin has informed me that there is $50 million in the State Capital bill agreed to by the leaders for museums. This bill (expected to be SB 440) will be voted on in the next two weeks.
I am attaching an outline of talking points for you to use in sending emails to legislators. Please encourage them to vote for a Capital Bill that includes museums.
I will keep you updated on the movement of the bill. Currently the leaders are discussing using the State Museum process and rules to distribute the funds. Rebecca Schejbal in the MIP office can get you email addresses of legislators if you need them.
SUGGESTED TALKING POINTS
INCLUDING MUSEUMS IN A STATE CAPITAL PROGRAM
I am NAME, TITLE, MUSEUM, CITY / TOWN.
I thank the House Speaker and House members for this opportunity to speak to you about the important and critical need for a state capital program and the need for Museums to be included in the capital program.
Include a brief description of your Museum, number of employees, some of the key services, etc.
Less Access to Capital and Skyrocketing Costs of Borrowing
My Museum faces a tremendous challenge in raising the financial capital needed to maintain, renew and upgrade their physical plants, equipment and technology – a challenge that has become much greater during the current recession and credit market crisis.
Capital is critical for Museums to comply with life safety codes and other requirements and to expand and improve operations in order to remain viable, effective, and up-to-date.
Those Museums that are unable to keep pace with facility maintenance and improvement are at risk for compromising their performance, increasing their risk of limiting access and educational opportunities for their community.
Museums with limited or NO access to capital are falling further and further behind in their ability to keep their facilities and technology up to date.
Provide information on how your Museum has been affected by the credit market crisis – whether lack of access to capital or much greater costs of borrowing – and whether you have had to postpone or cancel projects as a result
Access to capital for many Museums is threatened due to the weakening economy, as well as the ongoing financial challenges they face – including lower charitable giving and reduced local government support – making it more difficult if not impossible for many of these Museums to obtain capital.
The Challenge: Aging Chicago Museum Sites
The majority of the Chicago Museum sites were built over 80 years ago.
Recent renovations have not been able to keep up with the latest developing upgrades to life safety systems and green technology.
More visitors attend the top Chicago Museums than attend all the Chicago Professional Sports Teams together making Capital improvements essential to protecting both educational opportunities and economic benefit for the State.
Provide specific information about the age of your Museum and/or major pieces of equipment/technology if that is relevant to reinforce the point about aging Museum plan and equipment.
The Capital Needs of Museums
Provide specific examples of your Museum’s needs
The state has a vested interest to ensure the health and well being of its citizens by making sure that they have access to Museums.
Including Museums in the state capital program is an opportunity to create a public-private partnership to invest in the updated Museum facilities, new equipment and modern technology that are essential to maintaining and improving access to Museums for educational opportunities and regional economic development.
I respectfully urge you and your colleagues in the House to approve a state capital program that includes the needs of Museums.
NOTE: It is possible that you will be asked whether you support tax increases to pay for a state capital program, such as higher gasoline or income taxes.
A possible answer might be:
I strongly believe that a capital program, which includes the needs of Museums, is of primary importance to the state. If the Legislature and Governor conclude that revenue enhancements are one of the ways that would make a capital program possible, I would support their efforts.