Michigan voters show they are willing to pay more taxes to support the arts

People hate taxes, but designated levies show that people are willing to pay for services and institutions that they think are worthwhile. Obviously that approach does not work for everything, but it is working for several museums and zoos around the country.

Suburban Taxpayers Vote to Support Detroit Museum
Published: August 8, 2012

The Detroit Institute of Arts was saved from devastating budget cuts Tuesday night after voters in three Michigan counties agreed to institute a property tax increase earmarked specifically for the museum.

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

“We are thrilled,” said Graham W. J. Beal, the institute’s director, who gathered with supporters at the museum Tuesday night to await the count and then celebrate the proposal’s passage.

The institute now becomes one of a handful of American museums, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the St. Louis Art Museum, that rely on property taxes for a portion of their revenues. But Detroit’s is unusual among major urban museums because it does not have a large endowment and receives no financial support from either the city or the state. ………..


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