Pittsburgh to Drop 'Amusement Tax' on Non-Profit Arts Groups

Classic Arts News   Pittsburgh to Drop 'Amusement Tax' on Non-Profit Arts Groups
Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Awards last month that he will abolish the amusement tax on nonprofit arts groups next year, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

There is currently a 1.25% tax on arts organizations. The tax will reportedly remain at 5% on for-profit sports and concert tickets (where it generates more than $9 million annually for the city) in Pittsburgh's 2008 operating budget.

According to the Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh's city budget office says that nonprofits such as the Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Public Theater will save almost $450,000 in total after the tax cut. The arts tax was 10% before it was halved in 1995; it then dropped to 2.5% for nonprofits in 2004 and 1.5% this year.

Once it's eliminated in 2008, it "will be very, very difficult for any mayor in the future to reinstitute the tax," the Post-Gazette quoted Mark Weinstein, arts council board chairman and Pittsburgh Opera's general director, as saying.

The tax cut should mostly benefit performing arts groups. "The mayor believes the arts are vital to the community and he's trying to help them out the best he can," Ravenstahl's budget director, Scott Kunka, told the Post-Gazette.

Eliminating the amusement tax has long been one of the primary objectives of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (a 129-member organization that supports and lobbies for local arts groups), according to the paper.

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