Clash over hotel tax money at National Civil War Museum

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In Harrisburg, angry words from the Mayor and City Council at a meeting at the National Civil War Museum.

They say taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the museum anymore, and they want the museum's board to pay higher rent. Right now the museum pays $1 a year in rent.

The meeting was held at the museum Thursday night as a public forum.

Residents say they're frustrated with how much money has gone into the museum. It's received millions in direct subsidies and hotel tax money.

The mayor says giving the museum that money has ruined the city and he doesn't want the hotel tax going to it anymore. But the contracts were signed years ago.

"We are perpetuating this year after year after year, because there is no desire of this board to change that dynamic," said Mayor Eric Papenfuse, addressing the board. "You seem to feel entitled to a subsidy."

"It's very common for governments at all levels to support museums in the United States," says Museum CEO Wayne Motts.

None of the current board members were on it when the contracts were signed.

The board would have to agree to any changes in rent, or agree to change the hotel tax amount in the contract. Board members would not commit to that.

"We are certainly willing to sit down and have an overall dialogue about what the relationship should be on all levels moving forward," says board member Gene Barr.

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