A PETITION TO THE DC CITY COUNCIL OPPOSING THE PROPOSED TICKET TAX

1.

 
Coordinated by The Helen Hayes Awards, Cultural Tourism DC, and the Cultural Development Corporation on Behalf of the Washington DC Performing Arts Community
Dear Mayor Gray, Chairman Brown, and Councilmembers:

I join the coalition in opposition to the proposal to impose a tax on tickets to live performances of ballet, dance, or choral performances, concerts (instrumental and vocal), plays (with and without music), operas and readings and exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts.Although well-intentioned, such a tax would unfortunately achieve the very opposite of what its proponents intend.
While a tax on arts tickets might generate some funds for the District government in the short term, it would do enormous, long-term harm to one of the city’s major economic generators: the cultural community and the businesses dependent on them. Such a tax would negatively affect the city and its arts organizations in the following ways:
1. Ticket prices affect attendance. If ticket prices are too high, audiences will decrease significantly. This tax deters participation in an activity that we all actually want to encourage.
2. If audiences decline because ticket prices are too high, the irreparable economic damage to District businesses, consumers, and the arts overall would be far, far greater than the minimal amount such a tax could yield to offset the budget deficit.
3. A ticket tax will affect the ability of D.C. arts organizations to continue subsidizing arts education in public schools.
4. Collecting, reporting and submitting taxes takes time and resources that the majority of arts organizations do not currently have within their existing infrastructure so conducting these tax compliance activities will add to everyone’s overhead expense.
5. This tax will challenge DC arts organizations’ ability to compete with MD, VA and federal cultural venues.
6. If audiences don’t attend arts events because ticket prices are too high, everyone loses:
* audiences who would otherwise attend these events;
* arts organizations dependent on ticket income;
* arts employees whose jobs will be affected due to their organization’s revenue loss;
* arts-related businesses, such as those that sell lumber for sets, fabrics for costumes, concessions, etc.) and
restaurants, transit and the many other D.C. businesses so importantly supported by traffic attending arts events.; and
* the DC government who loses the 10% tax it receives from restaurant sales by virtue of resulting reduced restaurant traffic.
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I join this coalition to ask the City Council to abandon the proposed tax on tickets to live performances of ballet, dance, or choral performances, concerts (instrumental and vocal), plays (with and without music), operas and readings and exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts.
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District of Columbia resident
District of Columbia Ward
My interest in the ticket tax issue arises primarily from my position as:
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