On Twitter, Ian Donnis of RIPR has been sort of arbitrating a dispute between Rep. Patricia Morgan and the Woonsocket Museum of Work and Culture Preservation. With a group of fellow Republicans, Morgan has proposed a PayGo solution for bridge and road repair and maintenance, including a reprioritization of $200,000 from the museum toward infrastructure.
The museum claims total state funding of around $12,000, not $200,000. Morgan replies that the Rhode Island Historical Society receives the state funding and uses that money for the museum. Who’s correct?
According to the latest available 990 form from the museum, for 2013, $12,000 of revenue is in the general area. On the other hand, the Historical Society’s latest available annual report, dated November 2013, shows a $229,629 line item for “Woonsocket museum.”
In sorting out the distinction, it’s interesting that the annual report lists eight staff members at the Museum of Work & Culture, while the 990 form lists not a single dollar on salaries or benefits and does not list any actual employees.
A complicating factor, however, is that, according to the annual report only 54% of the society’s revenue comes via public support, and “public” doesn’t necessarily mean “government.” According to USASpending.gov, the society receives around $150,000 per year from the federal government, with twice that in 2011. According to RIOpenGov, the Historical Society receives varying amounts from the state government, sometimes none.
There could be still more to this story than I’m spotting, but for the moment it looks a small portion of the millions of dollars in the GOP’s proposal would need to be found again. In the state’s massive budget, that shouldn’t be an issue at all.