Germantown Colony Museum safe from budget cuts for now

Funding for the Germantown Colony Museum remains secure through June 30, 2018, officials say, but talks have begun should the state reach a fiscal cliff next year.

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler was in town Wednesday to give local officials an update on the museum and begin talks as to what options there would be should the state face massive budget cuts, which could lead to the closure of the museum.

“Secretary Schedler is working with Germantown and other museums to see if there are ways to reduce the cost to the state in the event the state reaches the financial cliff in 2018 and does not come up with a solution,” said Louisiana Secretary of State spokesperson Meg Casper Sunstrom.

Sunstrom said the state contributes $15,000 a year to run the operations of the museum.

With the extra statewide one-cent sales tax added last year to balance the state’s budget rolling off the books next year, lawmakers will have to make over one billion dollars in cuts to fill the gap, which could impact state museums.

State Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, who also leads the House Democratic Caucus, remains hopeful lawmakers will be able to close the looming budget gap for the state’s next fiscal year.

“We are working on about three or four scenarios, which we could avoid (cuts),” he said. “We are going to run it by the governor on Monday and on Oct. 12 we are going to have a meeting of the full House to talk about it.”

Should the plan have enough support to pass, Reynolds said a special legislative session would take place at the beginning of next year. Should the plan pass, Reynolds said the museum should be unaffected.

“Nothing is a done deal,” Reynolds said of the closing of the museum. “Tom (Schedler) did not come to town to close it, but to say we do have some issues that need to be settled.”

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