On Tuesday, voters in Genesee County will decide whether tax dollars should help fund the Flint Cultural Center and other arts organizations.
The proposed millage would generate close to $9 million a year. Most of it would go to the crowns of Flint’s cultural institutions, including the Flint Institute of Arts, the Whiting Auditorium and the Sloan museum.
Museum executive director Todd Slisher says a declining donor base is creating a problem for the institutions that traditionally relied on private support.
“We’d rather not cut back on the services that we provide to the residents of Genesee County,” says Slisher.
The millage proposal is running into opposition. Top county Republican leaders say they can’t support turning to taxpayers for institutions that have long relied on private donations.
County Commissioner David Martin sees it as part of a bigger problem.
“It’s primary season. I’m hearing every socialist democrat come out and want universal this and universal that,” says Martin. “Tax dollars are limited. We can’t afford everything and we need to focus on fundamental, legitimate government needs for our tax dollars.”
If the millage passes, Genesee County residents will receive free or reduced admission to the institutions receiving millage funds.