Trump budget proposal funds struggling museum in Reagan's childhood home
The website for Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home proudly says it does not receive any federal funding, but President Trump is seeking to change that with his latest budget proposal.
The president’s budget request sets aside $300,000 for the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site in Dixon, Illinois.
President Reagan long espoused views of limited government intervention, the spirit of which carried on through the foundation that ran the museum now staged in his childhood home.
The foundation turned down efforts in the past to sell the home to the National Park Service (NPS), arguing doing so would have been against The Gipper’s principles.
“He didn’t think that government needed to be so big, he didn’t think government needed to be involved in our daily lives, and people really took that to heart here,” a former director of Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation told former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) for his 2013 report that questioned Congress’s “misplaced priorities” in running NPS.
But the foundation has since hit hard financial times, Politico Magazine reported in November, and for the first time sought the federal funding that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) had offered in 2002.
“It’s not gonna close, if I have to stay here and run it myself,” Patrick Gorman, the director of the foundation told Politico. “It would be a loss to this community, the status, the tourism. Those 5,000 people that come to see us [every year], they eat in restaurants, spend money here.”
Tax records reviewed by the Chicago Tribune show expenses at the home outpace its revenue by about $80,000.
The funding for the home is paired with more than $220,000 set aside for Martin Luther King Jr.’s home. But it also comes as the president proposes slicing $581 million from the budget, a move expected to include cutting park rangers.
The White House did not respond to request for comment, nor did the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, which is closed until April.