Lonegan Demands Repeal of Hotel/Motel Tax and End to State Funding for the Arts
"A tax on working families to subsidize artists."
Stepping into a controversy featuring one former and one current Governor feuding over arts funding, a man who wants to be the next Governor is taking a different approach -- get the government out of the arts business altogether.
Republican Steve Lonegan, a conservative seeking the GOP nomination, says state government needs to get out of the business of funding art and taxing working families to pay for it.
Lonegan's remarks came in a morning interview with Don Williams on WOND 1400 AM, Atlantic City.
"The Hotel/Motel Tax, dedicated by statute to funding arts programs, is a tax on working families who pay it when going to the shore and businesses that lose revenue because customers are spending their money on taxes rather than with local merchants," Lonegan, the former three-term Bogota Mayor, said.
"With all due respect to former Governor Kean who threatens to sue Governor Corzine over arts funding, those who want to support the arts should do so with their own money, not forcing taxpayers to do so against their will," Lonegan added.
Kean is honorary chairman of the Christie for Governor campaign.
"The Hotel/Motel Tax is just one more way we have become uncompetitive with other states and it needs to go," Lonegan noted. "This tax makes working families subsidize the arts and that is nothing more than income redistribution," Lonegan added. "That's not what state government is for."
Lonegan said he hopes opponent Chris Christie, a former Morris County Freeholder and U.S. Attorney, will join him in calling for repeal of the tax, which was passed with the backing of liberal Republicans who have since endorsed Christie for Governor.
"Chris Christie talks in vague platitudes about cutting taxes' and making our state more competitive'," Lonegan said. "If he feels that way, a great place to start is by joining me in calling for the Hotel/Motel tax repeal."