February 12, 2016
Around the big top

Ignoring ticket tax as revenue source is irresponsible

Posted 9/30/09

Last week Governor Jennifer Granholm put a proposal on the table to charge sales tax for tickets to concerts, sporting events, movies and other attractions.

Michigan’s Senate Republicans, who hold the majority in the state senate, quickly spoke out against the proposal and on a sports-talk radio show last week, I heard two say the ticket tax proposal is a bad idea and definitely didn’t come out of the Michigan Senate.

It should have.

Charging six-percent sales tax on tickets to these events is not only a viable option for increasing the state’s revenue, but one I feel the state legislature would be foolish not to heavily consider.

As some of my friends know, I love going to concerts. From 2006-08, I went to 12 different concerts, mostly in the Detroit area.

If I would’ve been charged sales tax on the tickets, know how many I would have went to?

That’s right, 12.

So the idea of taxing tickets didn’t come out of the Senate, but what did?

Of course, that would be more cuts to education, fresh out of the chamber that cut state funding for pre-k.

This time, instead of just aiming at young children, the Senate set its eyes on college students and school districts as a whole, by attempting to cut the Michigan Promise Scholarship altogether (thankfully this didn’t go through, although it was cut) and trimming other financial aid; and by knocking down the per pupil allowance by $218 (kudos to Sen. Barcia for standing up for students by voting against the proposed cuts in committee).

And this seems to be a common talking point from those opposing the ticket tax:

“We can’t balance the budget on the backs of our young people.”

Lies. Cutting education puts quite a burden on the back of young people. I’ve said it before – unfortunately the auto industry isn’t strong enough to provide the state with a plethora of jobs, like it did in the past. Instead, we hear government officials talk about bringing in all these high-tech, 21st century, advanced businesses.

Whose going to be qualified to work at these places if the cuts to education continue? Any Michigan students?

Sales tax wouldn’t prevent people from going to concerts just like increasing taxes on tobacco hasn’t led to a smoke-free Michigan. People skip out on concerts because they’re too busy, gas would cost too much to make the trip (especially for someone like me, traveling from Standish to Detroit), or the tickets, as priced, are too expensive.

Just like when someone stops buying cigarettes, it’s usually not because of the tax, but because they want to quit smoking.

Let’s do a little basic math.

Most concerts I’ve attended, the tickets have cost about $35 a piece, and there were probably 5,000 people at the average one. The Michigan sales tax on the $35 tickets would mean another $2.10 would be tacked on to the ticket.

Multiply that by 5,000 people in attendance and you get $10,500. Keep in mind that there are tons of concerts in Michigan every year and some have much higher ticket prices, and you can start to see this as a major money maker for the state. Also, remember this would include tickets to watch the Tigers, Red Wings, Lions and Pistons or go to a movie.

I think the Michigan Senate was hoping it already did enough damage to education to make sure that nobody could do the math I just did.

Too late guys.

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