D.C. Mayor proposes city sales tax for performing arts

Posted on: April 7, 2011

Tuesday (4/5) on his Washington Post blog, Mike DeBonis writes, “Mayor Vincent C. Gray noted on Friday that his budget plan includes a proposal to extend the city’s 6 percent sales tax to ‘live theater’ for the first time, raising $2.3 million for fiscal 2012. But ‘live theater’ is quite a bit broader than just Arena Stage and Studio Theater performances and the like. The change, as reflected in budget legislation submitted by the Gray administration, would end a sales tax exemption long extended 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.’ So what Gray is selling as a tax on ‘live theater’ would more accurately be a tax on the fine arts more broadly. … Note that ‘movies, circuses, burlesque shows, sporting events, and performances or exhibitions of any other type or nature’ have already been subject to sales taxation.”

Posted April 7, 2011