Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Everyone has a reason why good policy shouldn't be applied to them

The City Paper has a story, "Arts Organizations Tell D.C. Council to Drop Ticket Tax," about how arts groups shouldn't have to assess sales taxes (admissions taxes) on their theater or music groups because they are nonprofits. But the reality is that people don't make a decision to go to the opera or theater depending on whether or not they have to pay a sales tax on the ticket.

Here's the thing:

1. Nonprofits don't pay taxes because their efforts are seen as contributing to the public good.
2. Nonprofits arts groups ask for and get public monies to support their efforts, because their efforts are seen as contributing to the public good.

I have argued ("Cultural resources planning in DC: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king" and "Neighborhood investment fund issues") while we have problems in DC in terms of not properly doing (1) cultural planning generally; (2) funding arts and culture in a fair, open and transparent process; that it is reasonable to fund the arts.

I just don't see any solid policy argument supporting why nonprofits shouldn't pay taxes, get public monies, AND HAVE THEIR TICKET SALES EXEMPT FROM ADMISSIONS TAXES, unless they stop asking for public monies in return.

Although, maybe smaller venues could be exempt, maybe.

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