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    Posted October 19, 2009

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PA Update - Theatre Ticket Tax - Taken Off Table

Kudos to the Philadelphia Liaison Committee (Chaired by Tom Helmer) and Equity members in Scranton and Pittsburgh, along with the Greater Philadelphia Theatre and Cultural Alliances and the Pittsburgh Cultural Alliance!

On Friday, October 9, 2009, just 21 days after the Governor of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell, announced that the General Assembly was proposing a 6% raise in tickets to arts and cultural events, two bills were signed into law - one on taxes, and one on spending - that would finally bring Pennsylvania its long-awaited FY10 state budget. The best part? The tax on arts and cultural admissions AEA vehemently fought was taken off the table.

The tax would have affected theatres, museums, parks and zoos. It was not to be applied to movies or sporting events.

Equity’s coordinated efforts with the allied groups to mount on-the-ground and legislative protests made all the difference. There were two rallies held in Philly within a two-week period which received great media attention and visibility. Equity helped coordinate and participated in both. The Pennsylvania Equity membership placed calls and emails to members of their General Assembly, contacted key Senators to help champion the issue, and had a visit to Harrisburg, home of the capitol building, planned for Tuesday, October 6h to lobby those elected officials who were still hold-outs on eliminating the tax.

Fortunately, at the Barrymore Awards, word came from the Mayor’s Arts and Culture Czar, Gary Steuer, as well as several other reliable sources, that the tax on theatres had been taken off the table in both the House and the Senate.

While the cultural community was still impacted by several cuts, there's no doubt that without the collective and hard work of all parties mentioned, it could have been far worse.

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