2021 Candidate Survey Responses – NJ Governor

" "Phil Murphy 
Democrat for Governor

Sheila Oliver
Democrat for Lt. Governor


Q: Annual State Appropriations — A3101 was signed into law in January 2020 (P.L. 2019, c.333), and amends legislation to appropriate “amounts not less than the amount otherwise specified for State Fiscal Year 2005” for arts, history, and tourism through the NJ State Council on the Arts, NJ Historical Commission, NJ Division of Travel and Tourism, and NJ Cultural Trust.


For FY22 appropriations are $31.9m for NJ State Council on the Arts, $5.5m for NJ Historical Commission, $17.6m for NJ Division of Travel and Tourism, and $720k for NJ Cultural Trust.


Will you support greater funding for arts, history, and tourism in FY23 and beyond? If not, why?


ANSWER: Our administration has expressed strong support for the arts, history, and tourism throughout our first term. In FY2022, we appropriated tens of millions to these sectors, and in April 2021, we signed legislation providing $15 million to arts and cultural venues, which were especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In our second term, we plan on keeping our commitment to the arts and taking action to help these sectors recover from the pandemic.


Q: New Jersey Cultural Trust — Even with increased support cited above, the NJ Cultural Trust remains underfunded and lacks an appropriation for administrative staff. The purpose of the NJ institutional and financial stabilization of arts, history, and humanities organizations in New Jersey. (Funding for grants is derived from interest earned on the Cultural Trust Fund, which is a permanent state investment fund. Funding is currently $720k annually. Enabling legislation in 2000 called for an investment of $10 million a year for 10 years).


Will you support an appropriation beyond $720k annually to boost this sustainable public-private partnership? If not, why?


ANSWER: While we are unable to determine what future budget appropriations may include, we are open to exploring how our administration can help improve this public-private partnership.


Q: COVID relief and recovery — The nonprofit arts industry has been hit extraordinarily hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with most arts facilities among the first to close the last to reopen. The runway to complete recovery is long and exacerbated by the current Delta variant. COVID safety compliance must meet artist union demands and often includes upgrades to aging facilities, and accommodations to afford patrons and audiences comfortable and safe cultural experiences. Recovery also includes assistance to mitigate revenue shortfalls due to ticket refunds and cancellations when patrons become ill or lack comfort in crowded indoor venues. For data related to the economic impact of COVID-19 on the creative industries, please see the attached document.


A request of $125 million from American Rescue Plan funds is being made through the legislative Joint Budget Oversight Committee that includes $60 million for arts infrastructure, $25 million for a statewide tourism promotion campaign, $20 million to support for-profit arts and entertainment venues, $10 million for the NJ Cultural Trust, and $5 million for arts education partnerships.


Will you support significant American Rescue Plan funds awarded to the State of New Jersey for the recovery of arts and culture as key to tourism and economic and community development, and if so, how? If not, why?


ANSWER: Our administration is carefully considering how to spend American Rescue Plan funds and have held multiple public listening sessions to hear the perspectives of stakeholders. Tourism and economic/community development have been a focus since the beginning and will continue to be a priority moving forward.


Q: Arts Education — How would you support arts education given the impact of COVID-19 on these programs and how would you use the position of Governor to promote subject areas in the arts that support creativity, innovation and 21st Century skills? In addition, each May the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education display the outstanding achievements of over 100 high school students throughout New Jersey.


Will you commit to attending this event to address students and families in attendance?


ANSWER: Our administration has prioritized safely restoring our education systems and recovering from student learning loss incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next few years will be critical to ensuring learning loss is fully addressed, and our administration is committed to investing in resources to get our students back on track. I look forward to hearing when the Governor’s Awards in Arts Education takes place, and if available, it would be a pleasure to attend and recognize the outstanding achievements of young New Jerseyans. Until then, our administration will continue to lift up the achievements of our talented students and their families.


Q: Charitable Deduction — S2360 allows gross income tax deductions for certain New Jersey-based charitable organizations during the COVID19 pandemic. Passed unanimously by the New Jersey Senate in May 2020, the bill was referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.


Will you support S2360? If not, why?


ANSWER: While I cannot comment on pending legislation, my administration will closely monitor this bill, and we will continue to advance COVID-19 relief efforts to aid those most affected by this pandemic.



Cittarelli Jack Ciattarelli

 Republican Nominee for Governor 


 No Response.