Pennsylvania’s cultural sales tax misplaced, says Inquirer editorial

Posted on: September 23, 2009

An editorial in Tuesday’s (9/22) Philadelphia Inquirer states, “Filling Pennsylvania’s budget gap with a new tax on the arts unfairly singles out a community that already is struggling. Gov. Rendell and leaders of the legislature announced late Friday that they finally agreed on a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1. The deal would not raise the personal income tax or the statewide sales tax, but would impose several targeted tax hikes. One of the proposals, not aired in recent weeks, is to charge a sales tax on tickets at museums and performing-arts theaters. The tax would be 8 percent in the city and 6 percent elsewhere. … Why single out certain types of entertainment without taxing tickets to professional sports events or movies? … An informal survey of Eagles’ fans at Sunday’s game showed that most of those interviewed would pay an entertainment tax, and they don’t believe it’s fair to single out the arts. … Legislative leaders said a portion of the culture tax would go to a fund to support arts programs statewide. … But it’s not nearly settled how much money would come back to arts groups, or whether the total would be more than those groups now receive from the state. … This proposal reflects misplaced priorities. Targeting cultural performances and museums alone is the wrong way to go.”

Posted September 23, 2009