New policies are needed in Washington to enable local governments to increase access to these educational experiences. A coalition of business, non-profit, educational, labor and government leaders across the state are supporting legislation that would make this possible. The goal is to increase access to cultural experiences (including arts organizations, science centers and zoos) for children and adults across Washington. Funds would be used to provide cultural education programs for students and residents, and to pay for school transportation to these venues.
This initiative is modeled after other successful programs. It gives voters a tool to ensure the preservation and stability of these institutions. There are currently several states that have adopted legislation authorizing the use of special tax districts. St. Louis, Missouri established the first such district in 1969, using its funds to support the art museum, the zoo and the museum of science. For 23 years, the seven-county Denver, Colorado metropolitan area has distributed approximately $40 million annually to scientific and cultural organizations through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District.