In Praise of Ben Harbin

I like the sound of this.

“I am not as big of an advocate of the state investing in museums as I was last year,” said state Rep. Ben Harbin (R-Evans), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Harbin pushed the General Assembly for extra money last year for the Golf Hall of Fame in Augusta, which is near Harbin’s home town. Perdue vetoed all funding for the Golf Hall, although he continued state payments to museums in his Middle Georgia region.

“Obviously, we don’t need as many museums as we used to,” Harbin said. “There is a point where we have to ask, ‘Should the state be investing in museums.’ ”

The Appropriations chairman said the other projects would not get “a dime” until the state Building Authority is able to show how the parking spaces that would be eliminated by the plan would be replaced and how traffic near the Capitol would be affected.

I realize Macon has several museums that get state government money, but I’ve always been a near fiscal libertarian on these things. Shouldn’t they be able to make enough money to break even? And if not, shouldn’t we at least put a lot more serious stuff ahead of them in line to get taxpayer dollars?

Now if we can cut out the rest of the pork. Maybe Rep. Harbin will do just that.

9 comments

  1. Trackboy1 says:

    I give Sonny big prop’s for the plan. Mitchell Street needs to be closed. Damn drivers won’t even stop for school children crossing there.

    This is an interesting enough state, unlike say Montanta, that Georgia could/should actually have a very cool state museum…yes, only if it breaks even, and it could in that location (MARTA access, the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot built in 1869, plus the city has to sell Underground one of these days to someone with a clue to run it the right way). Maybe the state museum could be more than just a tourism venue, but done in conjunction with UGA to house an active research and archive center.

    Some states have beatiful capitol areas that draw tourists, like Austin, Texas:
    http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/spb/gallery/CurrPhoto/CurrPhoto.htm

    Sonny is actually thinking big here. Kudo’s.

    And turning the Department of Transportation HQ into a parking facility…oh, the irony.

    How ’bout moving GDOT HQ to Macon…

  2. Jmac says:

    The amount of money dedicated toward museums by the state budget is very minimal in respect to the entire budget. Plus, most museums rely on private giving to actually function, with state funds only assisting with renovations/expansion and basic administrative costs.

  3. juliobarrios says:

    “yes, only if it breaks even, and it could in that location (MARTA access, the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot built in 1869, plus the city has to sell Underground one of these days to someone with a clue to run it the right way).”

    The location was such a winner for Coca-Cola.

  4. cheapseats says:

    anybody that is this good at postponing a DUI court date is definitely somebody worthy of the praise and influence you guys on the Red Team want to lavish upon him!

  5. IndyInjun says:

    The savings would be well spent installing those metal protectors on every utility pole on Memorial Drive or a case of napkins for Richardson’s next attempt at tax reform.

  6. lain says:

    Sorry Erick, it’s practically impossible for museums to break even with revenue from ticket sales or events. Even with private, foundation, and corporate investment, there’s still a need for public investment, especially for smaller museums.

    I had a similarly fiscally libertarian point of view on this sort of thing, but then I started working at a museum. Long story short, no matter how valuable some consider us to be, we wouldn’t have survived without government support.

    I wonder what Harbin would have said this year had the Golf Hall of Fame been funded?

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