Sunday, March 1, 2015

Arts Tax Opponents Hopeful

Opponents of a proposed arts tax in the state budget were hopeful today, after Democrats in the state House of Representatives yesterday cut the arts tax from the deal, instead backing taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco, casino table games and natural gas drilling.

Arts Tax Opponents Hopeful

Opponents of a proposed arts tax in the state budget were hopeful today, after Democrats in the state House of Representatives yesterday cut the arts tax from the deal, instead backing taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco, casino table games and natural gas drilling.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are winning," said Robert Weaver, an organizer of today's City Hall rally against the tax. "We are winning but we have not won yet. We must encourgage legislators to keep the tax off the table."

Arts groups have raged against the proposed tax, part of a bipartisan budget deal announced two weeks ago. It would add 6 percent to the price of admission to performing arts events, museums, historical sites, zoos and parks in most of the state and more in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

After Democrats in the state house removed the tax from the budget, Republicans in Harrisburg warned that the whole deal could sour. State Sen. Larry Farnese, who attended the rally today, said he thought other revenue streams should be considered.

"Talk about smokeless tobacco to your legislator," Farnese told the crowd of about 100 arts professionals and supporters gathered outside City Hall. "I think it's asinine that we're not looking at this because of some political BS in Harrisburg."

Farnese said he will continue to push against the tax, although he would not say that he'd definitely vote against it.

About this blog
William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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