Broadway League Opposes Potential State Tax on Show Tickets

News   Broadway League Opposes Potential State Tax on Show Tickets In an effort to close a record $13.7 billion budget deficit, New York Governor David Paterson's Executive Budget for 2009-10 recommends increased fees and taxes in many areas of public life, including a four percent tax on theatre tickets.

It is expected that the City of New York will add its own four percent tax on top of the state tax on show tickets.

In a troubled economy, producers are not happy about the possible added tax.

"We are opposed to any increase in taxes that will further damage the economies of Broadway and Off-Broadway, and are working with the unions and our industry partners both on and off Broadway to develop a coordinated initiative to oppose this effort," stated Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, the trade group representing producers and theatre owners. "While we recognize that no one wants increased taxation, we believe that a tax of over eight percent may decrease attendance further and possibly lead to more closed shows...and we want to keep as many people employed as possible during this time of economic uncertainty. When Broadway is damaged, New York is damaged."

According to information provided by The Broadway League, "the State's tax would be four percent, but the Governor's budget would authorize the City and MTA to follow suit and assess their own taxes on theatre tickets (in addition to the state's tax). Normally, the City and MTA must get permission from the State (via enactment of legislation) to increase the tax they assess on NYC residents. However, New York State tax law would allow the City and MTA to add their own theatre ticket tax without additional legislation. The three taxes (State, City and MTA) combined will exceed eight percent."

Under the heading of Tax Reforms and Actions, the budget proposal (unveiled Dec. 16, 2008) would extend sales tax to entertainment-related spending on movies, live theatre, sports events and more. The budget cites precedents around the country: "Most states tax entertainment-related services (31 states tax concerts, theatres, and movies; 27 states tax participatory sports; 22 states tax health clubs; 36 states tax amusement parks and rides; 34 states tax circus admissions)."

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