Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Arts - State and Local Government See Taxing Potential

With the economic downturn this past year individuals and families are not alone in their financial discomfort. Many state and local governments are suffering as well as tax revenues shrink. Workers in some instances have been laid off and positions consolidated in order to cut government expenses. There of course are limits as to how deeply government services can be cut. Because of this, I suppose it’s not surprising that local and state governments are looking for innovative sources of tax revenues.

The reason I bring this us is because there are so many not-for –profit organizations that provide vital funding for many art programs and grants for artists and in some instances these charitable organizations may be the target of legislators looking for new tax revenue sources. This concern is not just conjecture but actually happening in some instances. A few examples of this:

In Hawaii a bill would require charities to pay a 1 percent tax.Neighboring state of Kansas would subject charities to sales tax; would remove property tax exemptions from non-profits and Pennsylvania would remove property tax exemptions from non-profits.

Artists need to be alert to such possibilities in their own states and municipalities and not allow their state and local governments to move in this direction without expressing their concerns. Yes, these are difficult times. Charitable Foundations that support the arts/artists are feeling the pinch like everyone else.

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