Posted October 13, 2009
Michigan Take Action!
Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan has proposed, yet another, ticket tax (6%) on the performing arts, sporting events and entertainment. In addition, the Governor is recommending a $6.1 million cut to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA).
Actors' Equity is stepping up to support our members and local theatres in their fight to defeat this tax proposal and increase funding to the MCACA.
What you can do:
Cut and paste the letter below and visit Michigan.gov to send the letter to the Governor Granholm and your state legislators.
On the website, go to "Contact Us" and scroll down to "Find you Senator" and "Find your Representative". There you will find a list of your local legislators. Click on their email address, paste the letter into the body of your email and send! Don't forget to put No Ticket Tax in the subject line.
To reach the governor, on the same website, go to Visit Governor Jennifer Granholm where her picture is located. Scroll down to "Share Your Opinion" and paste the letter in the message section.
As one of your constituents, I would like to take this opportunity to express my concern with the proposed ticket tax on the performing arts and entertainment and the continued financial divestment of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
I am a working actor/performer/stage manager in this great state and witness first-hand the dynamic impact that the cultural and performing arts have on the health and well-being of the residents of Michigan.
Michigan continues to be one of the states hardest-hit by our country's economic crisis. Our residents, including myself, work very hard to make ends meet and look to the cultural and performing arts as a source of education, inspiration and connectedness to our communities.
A tax on the arts and entertainment could drastically reduce ticket sales, affecting not only the cultural and performing arts community but causing a ripple effect throughout our local communities. The arts attract attendees and visitors to our region. Those attendees purchase gas, meals, hotel stays, souvenirs, gifts, and other items from local businesses, providing more than $35 million in local economic impact. Purchases made by the arts and cultural sector together with its attendees positively impact our region with $51.5 million, and provide the state with $2.8 million in tax revenue.
The arts employ people; people who must eat and provide food and shelter for their families. Without arts and cultural activities, the unemployment rate will escalate and the state will lose $811.2 million in personal income. In addition, 30,000 jobs in the state would not be retained.
The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) provides grant funding to arts and cultural organizations across Michigan. Funding for MCACA has decreased from $25.5 million in 2002 to its lowest appropriation of $6.5 million in 2007. In Fiscal Year 2009, MCACA granted $7.9 million to 290 organizations and schools in 53 counties across the state.
I urge you to stop any efforts to create this new tax on tickets to theaters, concerts, college and professional sporting events and movies, retain funding for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs at $7.9 million for Fiscal Year 2010, and work with your colleagues, arts and cultural leaders to pass legislation that would provide sustainable funding for arts and culture in the years to come.