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Referendum on a Sales Tax for the Arts

Seattle voters have rejected (55-45) a 0.1% sales tax intended to support arts, science, and culture programs. (For the mathematically challenged among us, that's a 1-cent tax on every $10 spent.)

The proposal would have provided funding to arts organizations while requiring them to provide free and low-cost admission and increase services to underserved communities.

The Seattle Times author Nicole Brodeur wrote a column in support of the tax last week. It's worth a read in full.

The proposal was endorsed by Seattle Opera, Seattle Theatre Group, and the Woodland Park Zoo.
However, hesitation came from both those who opposed the tax and those who supported the idea but questioned implementation centering around two primary issues:

  • a sales tax is regressive, having a stronger impact on lower-income citizens (who spend a higher percentage of their income on taxable goods) than higher-income ones.
  • questions arose about the distribution of revenues between the city's cultural institutions.
Chris MyersComment