Wisconsin’s Veterans Museum is touted as one of the best in the nation, and the governor wants to increase funding for it.
Governor Jim Doyle says the award-winning state Veterans Museum is not just for the men and women in uniform, so they shouldn’t be the only ones paying for it. “I am very proud of the fact that we have started to move the cost of that museum off of the backs of veterans and to the general taxpayers of Wisconsin.”
Doyle says the museum is for everyone to enjoy and to better understand the sacrifice that has been made on our behalf. Longtime Museum Director Richard Zeitlin ( pronounce ) says, under the governor’s proposal, more of the museum’s operation will be paid for with general purpose revenue (G-P-R). “By allocating more tax money to the museum, as opposed to Veterans Trust Fund money, it leaves additional funds that are available to help provide support and assistance for programs that specifically help veterans, particularly the returning Iraqi veterans.”
Zeitlin says he’s grateful to the governor for taking some of the burden from the Veterans Trust Fund by recommending an increase of about $500,000 to their $1.9-million budget — $300,000 of which is just one-time funding for repairs to the infrastructure and the creation of exhibits. “We have some infrastructure problems; we need to replace our old electronic fire detection and security system; our banners that front the building need to be replaced; we have a whole slew of infrastructure things that must be dealt with and fixed or replaced and this is going to allow us to do it.”
In addition to repairs, Zeitlin says they’ll be producing a large Iraq war exhibit in 2009. He says modern exhibits — like home remodeling — are very expensive to do considering the electronic inputs, interactive components and displays. The governor also has proposed the addition of 1.2 more positions, which Zeitlin says will relieve some of the pressure off the current staff.