Are theater taxes next?

Gov. Patterson’s new budget hit the papers today and in it were some creative solutions to our current state’s economic woes, including a whole truck load of new taxes:

Trying to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, Patterson called for 88 new
fees and a host of other taxes, including an “iPod tax” that taxes the
sale of downloaded music and other “digitally delivered entertainment
services.”  Movie tickets, taxi rides, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages would
be taxed under Paterson’s proposal. It also extends sales taxes to
cable and satellite TV services and removes the tax exemption for
clothes costing less than $110.

It’s common for governments to increase sumptuary or sin taxes  during times of economic stress, but it looks like Patterson is so stressed out, he’s expanding the usual definition of sins to include a lot more “luxury” items and services, i.e. taxis, massages, and movie tickets?

Did anyone else get a little nervous that Mr. Gov. would be knocking on our door any minute?

Stay back, Gov.  We’re not Las Vegas.  We can’t afford a live entertainment tax, which means we’d just have to pass it on to our consumers.  Sure, that may be fine with you, but just remember that the majority of our theatergoers are out-of-towners.  Keep making it more expensive for them, and they just may go to LA or London or worse, stay at home.

Truth be told, I think he knows better than to come after us.  In fact, I think a lot of the above will get nixed by the lawmakers in Albany (common negotiating tactic: ask for 100 things so you can get 10).

It also looks like he’s deliberately taxing a lot of lower priced services and products in the hopes that the added nickels and dimes will slip by the consumer without too much notice (he does actually have to RUN for re-election next time).

Could it be that our high prices actually helped?

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  • Cedric Yau says:

    Ken,
    I wouldn’t be so sure about a Broadway Exclusion. The “official web site” cites a stat that 31 states have an entertainment tax on theater.
    http://publications.budget.state.ny.us/eBudget0910/fy0910littlebook/RevenueActions.html
    Extend Sales Tax to Entertainment-Related Spending. Imposes a sales tax on entertainment-related consumer spending, including but not limited to, movie theaters and sporting events. Most states tax entertainment-related services (31 states tax concerts, theaters, and movies; 27 states tax participatory sports; 22 states tax health clubs; 36 states tax amusement parks and rides; 34 states tax circus admissions).
    How do we contribute to the Keep Broadway Free (from tax) movement?
    -Cedric

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