The Georgia Senate's budget-writing committee restored most of the funding recommended by the governor for the Georgia music and sports halls of fame, but agreed with the House of Representatives that the institutions must begin to support themselves.
The Senate panel voted today to cut $100,000 from the sports hall's $811,230 state subsidy, and $75,000 from the $793,944 given last year to the music museum. The Senate also added $100,000 in new funds for the restoration of the Big House, historic home of the Allman Brothers Band during their Macon years, and $150,000 for the music hall's induction ceremony.
The Senate budget calls for both museums to lose state funding by 2013, compared to 2010 in the House version.
I'm not sure how concerned locals really ought to be about potential cuts to the Georgia Sports and Music halls of fame. It seems like these things come in and out of the budget every year, but the funding ends up in the budget when it's all said and done.
Still, there sure are a lot of people saying the halls of fame should be self sufficient, sooner rather than later. Having seen the foot traffic they generate, it's hard to believe that's possible.
The sports hall director, Jackie Decell said there was "no hope" for self-sufficiency by 2010. Lisa Love, the music hall director, didn't put that fine a point on it, but back in February, when legislators were peppering her with questions about self-sufficiency, she made it clear there are challenges generating visitation here in Macon.
But the Speaker's office said yesterday that the intent is for them to be self sufficient by 2010. Funny, I don't remember Speaker Richardson mentioning that when I spoke to him at the Music Hall of Fame in December, when he attended a fundraiser for state Rep. Allen Freeman.
In fact, whatever he and House Majority Leader Jerry Keen did say led me to write this for our Political Notebook feature:
Richardson and Keen basically gushed about the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Neither promised more state funding for the museum, whose officials have complained of budget cuts from the state, but they were friendly enough to the cause that museum officials might want to knock on the powerful legislators' doors during the coming session of the General Assembly.
Wish I'd kept the notes.
The state built these museums in Macon. Can you imagine how having a cavernous, empty museum building in downtown Macon would affect the city? Oh, wait.