Rhode Island budget changes would be disastrous for nonprofits

Posted on: April 15, 2011

In an editorial in Wednesday’s (4/13) Providence Journal (Rhode Island), Rhode Island Philharmonic Executive Director David Beauchesne writes, “Faced with a 4 percent budget deficit and double digit unemployment, the State of Rhode Island is in financial crisis. The fiscal 2012 budget includes a proposed package of punitive tax increases and budget cuts targeting nonprofit arts and education organizations that are intended to help reduce the deficit. … What does the budget include? Unprecedented tax increases, for one. Nonprofit arts groups would pay sales tax from 1 percent to 6 percent on all goods and services they purchase. They would be required to charge a 6 percent sales tax on education programs like music or dance lessons, as well as tickets for events and concerts. … At the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, operating costs would rise by as much as 11 percent, resulting in the largest tuition and ticket price increases in Philharmonic history. Higher prices would turn many patrons and students away, reducing revenue. … Those who run cultural institutions are doing their best to cope with the economic downturn. They have already made significant cuts and have weathered previous reductions in state funding. They are willing to make additional sacrifices, but Rhode Island cannot afford a budget that would destroy the ability of cultural nonprofits to survive.”

Posted April 15, 2011