Would admissions to pony rides be subject to the surcharge?

Because those lil tykes aren’t pulling their weight.

The other bill to diversify funding for the California Arts Council uses a tax… no, an admission surcharge upon each patron of an entertainment venue. CAC gets the dough and gets back to the bidness of arts granting.

Just to be clear: in this bill race tracks and sporting events do not qualify as entertainment.

And we knew this: performances for the benefit of a nonprofit do not qualify as entertainment.

It’s an ingenious plan, she said, grasping for the exempted revenue as it fell into an inky void while scanning yet another headline about how concert promotions anticipate another set of sad, sad, so sad and depressive summer profits not due to Morrisey (I’m sick.. and sad!) comebacks.

The summary from the CAC’s don’t-be-skeered newsletter:

Assembly Bill 655 (Leno)

This bill by Assemblyman Mark Leno will levy a one percent fee on admissions at all entertainment venues in the state, both private and non-profit. This one percent bill is estimated to generate upwards of $30 million to the Arts Council for distribution in grants, according to preliminary analysis from the Board of Equalization. This proposed revenue stream would stabilize arts funding and remove a great deal of pressure from the competition for General Fund dollars from all government sources that depend on it for their programs and operations.

The Leno bill, AB 655 will be heard on Tuesday in the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media at 9 a.m. on April 19th.

The State Board of Equalization (you know… the TAX PEOPLE) analyzed the bill and raised interesting questions (like the ones I confront every day: is a professional wrestling event a sporting event?).

Mark Leno can be contacted here or via fax: (916) 319-2113.

3 Replies to “Would admissions to pony rides be subject to the surcharge?”

  1. I think Leno’s shooting himself in the foot by proposing to include non-profits in the tax scheme.
    I could see doing so with an income minimum … e.g. a non-profit organization gets an exemption for up to, say, $100,000 in admissions. Tax the Opera, tax the MoMA, but leave out the smaller organizations for which compliance would be a pain in the ass … not that it wouldn’t be for the MoMA, but they have a Finance Department, and a store.
    But it’s a mite ridiculous for say, 21 Grand, to be taxed on 1% of our income, when aren’t we the “population” that is supposed to be served by this tax?
    I’d vote no on this as it stands.

  2. My first reading came up just like yours, which made my eyes go all googly, so I read the bill: It looks like any entertainment for the benefit of a nonprofit is exempted… which means the hard work of shaking 21 Grand audiences down for a penny on the dollar (perhaps something I’d pay more than a penny to see) has been averted. It also means we can’t tax the opera. Rats.

  3. The key phrase is “for the benefit of a non-profit” … that is if we were having a benefit for ourselves, rather than a performance where the artists benefit. I think what’s getting excluded here are the hoity-hoity fashion shows for AIDS charities and such. Of course one could always lie.
    The real question, speaking of pony rides, what about a pony ride at the Power Exchange? Does that qualify as entertainment?

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