Bethlehem: Mayor, venues reach tax deal
Though he announced the idea with his proposed budget a month ago, Mayor John Callahan announced Dec. 13 an altered version of his "amusement tax" after talks with local major venue owners.
The tax was originally proposed as a flat, but small, percentage on all event ticket sales to help pay for the increased demands for police and emergency services in our event-rich city. Local venue owners were less than pleased at first, but came to the table to negotiate.
Callahan said in the announcement, "Keeping our residents and their property safe is one of the highest priorities of any city government. Paying for these services without totally relying on property taxes is one of our greatest challenges."
ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks said while any new taxes are unwelcome, he believes the compromise will not have a significant impact on ticket sales as it amounts to less than the state tax on goods and services.
The new tax for concert, sport and theater tickets is as follows:
· $10; $0 tax
· $15; .75 tax
· $20; $1 tax
· $25; $1.25 tax
· $30; $1.50
Legally required exceptions include small and low-priced venues, and school and municipal-sponsored events. Conducting a ticketed amusement will now require a yearly or temporary permit.