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Council Announces Lower Ticket Tax, Separate Fund for Nationwide Arena

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Council Announces Lower Ticket Tax, Separate Fund for Nationwide ArenaPhoto by Anne Evans.
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After months of public input, the Greater Columbus Art Council’s (GCAC) proposed ticket fee has been considered and revised by Columbus City Council. Through the Columbus Art Alliance, council has established two funding streams: the Creativity Fund and the Stabilization Fund, designated for GCAC grants and capital improvements at Nationwide Arena, respectively.

“This proposal is a direct result of what we do in Columbus: radical collaboration,” said Council President Shannon Hardin in a press release. “We listened, we looked at the research, and we balanced public needs with economic reality. We must take responsibility for our aging buildings and for the next generation of arts, artists and arts education for local families and their kids. This plan offers a path forward for two important challenges.”

The Creativity Fund, projected to generate $6 million annually, will place a 5 percent ticket fee on performances and sporting events at venues with more than 400 seats and on tickets that cost more than $10. Events at Nationwide Arena as well as Ohio State University sporting events are exempt. Council expects this revenue to nearly double the amount of funding available for grants to local artists.

The Stabilization Fund, expected to raise $3 million annually, will create another 5 percent ticket fee solely for events at Nationwide Arena. From the revenue raised, 80 percent will be reinvested into the Arena for long-term capital improvements and maintenance projects, while the remaining 20 percent will go to “museums, theaters and other critical civic gems,” according to the press release.

The Columbus Art Alliance is a deviation from GCAC’s original proposal, which was for a 7 percent fee on all events in the city of Columbus, including the Arena. A modified proposal exempting smaller venues with cheaper ticket prices was submitted to council on Sept. 17, after which council held two public hearings.

Council will consider the legislation during another public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 29 in council chambers. If enacted at their Dec. 10 meeting, the ticket tax will be implemented on July 1, 2019.

“We have a responsibility to keep the doors of art and culture open and accessible,” said Hardin. “Investing in our creative economy, investing in our aging public arts and events spaces will have immeasurable returns for everyone who works, visits and calls Columbus home.”

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