California is so delusional they’re taxing theatre to make a profit

We received these news today from our contributor Cindy Marie Jenkins and it’s has blown our mind! What are these people thinking?!?!?!

Just received this urgent action to stop a sales tax on theatre sales (only theatre, apparently)?

I can’t help but paraphrase my husband’s reaction: “In what universe will this raise money?”

Anyone else think the public perception of theatre is skewed? What is wrong in our messaging and approach? This is either a longer rant or shorter and more concise blog post you will probably see a link to later. Please comment on your reactions and let me know if I can quote you in said post.

From the email:

URGENT: Sales tax to be imposed on theatre ticket sales MONDAY!

California Arts Advocates has just learned that a bill is going before the California legislature on Monday that will impose a sales tax on tickets to live theatre productions.

This bill does not include a sales tax on any other forms of entertainment, including opera, concerts or sporting events.

At a time when nonprofit theatres are already struggling with cuts to their funding, this bill will have an extremely negative effect on theatre around the state.

In order to stop this bill from being passed, we need you to call or email Assemblyman Mike Gatto, who introduced the bill, and the 10 members of the Committee for Revenue and Taxation that are voting on the bill Monday, to let them know that they must include a clear exemption for nonprofits in the language of the bill.

To contact Assemblyman Mike Gatto, call Aaron Moreno, who is staffing the bill, at (916) 319-2043, or email
aaron.moreno@asm.ca.gov

To contact the 10 members of the Committee, click here.

For a sample letter, click here.
To read the bill, go here.

Cindy is keeping us updated and she is updating her post as the news comes in HERE. Be sure to check her post and continue to write letters to Mr. Moreno (aaron.moreno@asm.ca.govemphasizing the importance of excluding ALL theater performances from this type of tax AND thanking him and the assemblymember for showing flexibility and understanding.

Filed Under: cindy marie jenkinsFeaturedPonderings

About the Author: ENCI is an actor and recently turned writer and director. She is an urban cyclist, passionate about living intentionally, about leaving less behind and about living healthy. Enci is a member of SAG and AFTRA and is on the board of the 501(c)4 Bikeside and is co-founder of the Bike Writers Collective. Enci teaches all over town about web etiquettes and social media and is involved with the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council where she serves on the Arts & Culture Committee. Enci is passionate about leaning new things and currently she is studying ASL. You can visit her at http://EnciPerforms.com or read about her adventures at http://illuminateLA.com

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  1. Arts for LA says:

    Arts for LA has made sending a letter to oppose this bill… it takes just two minutes and it gives us the ability to leverage constituent voice. Here’s the link: http://advocate.artsforla.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10397

  2. Trevor Thomas says:

    If we’re going to band together to try and effect the political process, it is first necessary to get our facts straight. Let’s start with this misleading lede:

    “URGENT: Sales tax to be imposed on theatre ticket sales MONDAY.”
    No. It’s just the 10-member committee vote on Monday. The bill still requires passage by the full Assembly, Senate and then the governor’s signature. Under the California constitution the bill, if passed, cannot become law until January 1, 2013 at the earliest.

    “This bill does not include a sales tax on any other forms of entertainment, including opera, concerts or sporting events.”
    No, it certainly does not, because those things are ALREADY SUBJECT TO THE SALES TAX.

    “California Arts Advocates has just learned that a bill is going before the California legislature on Monday that will impose a sales tax on tickets to live theatre productions.”
    Besides the patent inaccuracies in that statement, it seems to me that if the California Arts Advocates has “just learned” about this bill we need to dump their sorry asses and get us some better advocates.

    Mike Gatto introduced this bill in late February and it has been amended in the Assembly three times since. (By the way, all you folks involved in theater in Burbank, Glendale, North Hollywood? THIS IS YOUR ASSEMBLYMAN. How about doing something instead of just voting party line every goddamned election.)
    _____________________

    Colin’s bolded suggestion at the end that we should argue for “the importance of excluding ALL theater performances from this type of tax” is bad strategy – that’s not how politics works. We’re dealing with the art of the possible and giving for-profit theater an exemption not enjoyed by for-profit concert and sporting events won’t fly. An exemption for non-profits is quite plausible, however.

    If you study the odd list of services due to become subject to sales tax, you easily discern who this bill is targeting. Among the listed new sources of revenue: yacht repairs, cosmetic surgery, party planning services, spa services provided to pets, cosmetic dentistry, memberships in private golf clubs, marina services, limousine rentals.

    In other words it’s a typical Democrat bill aimed at “the rich.” It should be fairly simple to argue for an exemption for not-for-profit small theater as that is not perceived to be a luxury reserved to the wealthy.

    The Pantages? The Geffen? The Ahmanson? Those venues ARE arguably for the well-heeled and suggesting that they should be exempt when you are trying to get an Assembly utterly dominated by Democrats (60%) to save small theater is a losing proposition.

    Other special interest advocates seemingly more on the ball than the CAA have already been at work, and you see that in the large number of changes in the original target list that have already occurred. It’s very late for this kind of hysterical last minute appeal.

    Where the hell were these people months ago?

  3. Trevor Thomas says:

    Oops. I think that was Enci’s suggestion, not Colin’s.

  4. Yeah I’m in San Francisco so back off.