Thursday, June 18, 2009

Admissions tax relief

Ever since my days as a movie theater manager I've been aware of how much the City of Richmond's admissions tax -- SEVEN PERCENT -- hobbled show business in this town. The tax comes off the top of every dollar exchanged for admission to any event.
However, since this tax comes off the top, the show’s producer/promoter surrenders that seven percent, even when the show fails at the box office. Hungry for revenue, Richmond takes its seven-cents gouge from every dollar spent on a seat for movies, basketball games, live music or travelogues.

Over the years, like the dog that didn’t bark, the touring company shows and pop concerts that have skipped Richmond -- because of its extra tax -- just didn’t happen.
Click here to read the rest of "The Show Mustn't Go On." However, that one is only my most recent rant about Richmond's anti-show business policies. Over the last 25 years I've penned several articles on this topic for various publishers.

The point of bringing this up now is that there's a new movement toward phasing out the admissions tax. At this point it's just some people talking. But the number of them and WHO they are makes me think that we may well be on the road to doing something for Richmond that will be a huge boon to show business.

Most important, this change would not involve the taxpayers having to endlessly subsidize publicly-owned theaters and clubs, to try to jump-start an arts/theater district. Instead, The City would just get out of the way.
  • Click here to read "Six Percent of Nothing," an article about the admissions tax (it was six percent then) I penned in 1999.
Update: By the way, Henrico and Chesterfield don't have an admissions tax. Among the cities with pretty good live music scenes that don't charge an admissions tax are, Austin, Nashville and even Charlottesville.

More on this soon. Stay tuned...

No comments: