Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Responses to the Detroit Institute of Arts Property Tax. And What's a Millage, Anyway?

The recently approved "millage" that would provide $23 million a year over the next 10 years to the Detroit Institue of Arts was met with praise by Terry Teachout, who sees the small property tax as a creative and responsible way for an arts organization to raise funds:
To begin with, the DIA showed it was serious about money by slashing every thimbleful of fat out of its budget. It simultaneously showed itself to be responsive to the wishes of its patrons by undertaking an imaginative resinstallation of the museum's permanent collection that was both user-friendly and artistically responsible. Then, when the DIA asked for public funding, it sweetened the pill with an equally imaginative free-admission plan that targeted not just Detroiters but local suburbanites. 
Not so fast, says Mark Stryker of the Detroit Press.

He points out that the resulting givebacks to the community--free admission for Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland county residents, and extended museum hours for school trips--would not only result in $4 million in lost revenue, but would also grow the overall budget from $25 million to $30 million.

The World Socialist Web Site is against the millage.

Diane Ragsdale gives a good round-up of responses to the Detroit Institute of Arts tax, and raises her own questions here.

What's a millage? I'll punt to Wikipedia.