The Admissions Tax didn’t stop Movieland from opening its doors within the city limits A lot of fuss has been made about 7% “Admissions Tax” that the city levies on every event that charges a cover. Movie theatres, nightclubs, sporting events, and performance acts are all taxed. Several people have called for its repeal, including F.T. […]
A lot of fuss has been made about 7% “Admissions Tax” that the city levies on every event that charges a cover. Movie theatres, nightclubs, sporting events, and performance acts are all taxed. Several people have called for its repeal, including F.T. Rea of Slantblog.
Taxes are unavoidable and bad
I am no fan of taxes and would prefer a tax rate of as close to zero as possible. However, there would be no government without taxes so something needs to be taxed. We pay local taxes on virtually everything – the city funds its expenses through…
- Real Estate Taxes
- Sales tax
- Personal Property Tax
- Meals Tax
- Lodging Tax
- Admissions Tax
- Car Rental Tax
When I look through this list, I see a lot of taxes that I want reduced. A reduction of Sales Taxes would put more money in everyone’s pocket. I despise the Car Tax.
However, several on the list aren’t so bad. I don’t mind a Lodging Tax because mostly out-of-towners are footing that bill. Same goes for the Car Rental Tax. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if some of those taxes were increased because they would have little effect on the taxes I actually pay.
The Admissions Tax isn’t so bad
I would lump the Admissions Tax into the category of not so bad. The city raised $2.5 million last year on the admissions tax, or about $12.50 per resident. My contribution to that fund was somewhere around $3.50 – I spent about $50 on concert tickets at the National and the old Toad’s Place and a Kickers game at U of R Stadium. Other people subsidized this tax for me and reduced my tax bill which is great!
Who made up the rest of my share? People who live outside the city limits. They’re the ones drawn into the city by the great restaurants and shows at the National or the soon-to-be-open CenterStage, paying the 6% meals tax and the 7% admissions tax. Without these taxes, Richmond doesn’t get the full benefit of having amazing projects like CenterStage.
The fact is you would have to spend over $180 in ticket prices PER PERSON to pay more than your fair share of Admissions Tax. That’s 20 separate trips to the movies. Unless you’re a movie theatre addict or attend every Canal Club show, you’re benefiting from this tax more than it’s costing you.
The tax has nothing to do with businesses choosing to locate themselves outside the city limits. The new Movieland is living proof. There isn’t a legitimate music venue or performing arts venue outside of the city limits (save Innsbrook, perhaps). As for the Charlottesville, Austin, and Nashville music scenes as referenced by Slantblog, that’s just a result of a more focus, hard work, and better planning, not a result of admissions taxes.
Admissions Tax repeal = higher taxes for city residents
If the Admissions Tax is repealed, the City of Richmond will need to make up that $2.5 million elsewhere. Where will they turn? Perhaps they would raise the sales tax or utility rates. The truth is we’re going to have to cough up that $2.5 million from somewhere. Out-of-towners might as well help us pay for that bill. So when faced with the choice of a 7% admissions tax (already included in the prices you pay) or a higher sales tax on every dollar you spend, let us know what you’d prefer.
photo by: john.murden