By Jim McCarthy Apr 24, 2012 0 comments

Pointless and Destructive Theatre Tax Proposal Withdrawn

Thanks to Terence McFarland for A. being the one I heard about this from, and more importantly, B. being one of the people on the front lines of doing something about it.  I got there so late that all I did was sign the petition.

California Assemblyman Mike Gatto was proposing a 7.5% sales tax on the purchase of theatre tickets in the state of California.  If it weren’t such a bad idea, it would almost be worth a chuckle.  I didn’t know the state of California was looking to raise enough money to buy itself a moped.

Seriously, of all the places to go to shake the money tree, beating up theatre (not all live entertainment, but just theatre) seems both pointless from a revenue point of view and damaging to the economic activity that comes from theatres.  If the plan was to fail to raise any money AND reduce economic activity in the state AND make California a less interesting place by reducing the amount of theatre produced, this would have been an awesome way to do it.

Assemblyman Gatto withdrew the bill, thanks undoubtedly to the efforts of Terence and others.  He was also quite candid in a letter that he wrote to those who opposed the issue, saying that he heard their voices and changed his mind.  Hey, democracy!  So partial credit to the Assemblyman for being a good listener and changing based on new input.  Actually, quite a lot of credit.  I’m sure you can find the letter online.

While we’re on this, remember that proposals of this kind–to tax this and that, for a little bite of revenue here and there–always feel this pointless and destructive if you’re working in the field where the tax will be levied, and that’s because they usually are.  If you don’t think the State of California can do a better job using some of the revenues that theatre generates (which is essentially why you’d support a tax like this), then you probably, if you really thought about it, wouldn’t believe they could do it with other fees and taxes of this kind.

Anyway, well done, theatre aficionados!  Stay vigilant, though, because just because a bill is defeated once doesn’t mean it’s dead for good.

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