Last week, Ken Davenport (the coolest blogging producer Broadway has) wrote this:
It’s common for governments to increase sumptuary or sin taxes during times of economic stress, but it looks like Patterson is so stressed out, he’s expanding the usual definition of sins to include a lot more “luxury” items and services, i.e. taxis, massages, and movie tickets?
Did anyone else get a little nervous that Mr. Gov. would be knocking on our door any minute?
And today, The Post tells us that he’s already knocking:
FACING “Black Tuesday” – when the first six of 13 shows slated to close go dark on Jan. 6 – Broadway has been hit with a final indignity: a 4 percent tax on theater tickets.
The hike was not given top billing when Gov. David Paterson’s proposal of 137 new and increased taxes to address state budget shortfalls was released last week – but producers discovered it buried in there.
Executives say the fee could be the final blow to an industry reeling from dwindling ticket sales.
Let’s be clear for a second: this is not the final blow.
Broadway is not going to shut down.
This could represent a five dollar ticket increase, which is substantial, but is not going to bankrupt the business. It’s going to be a tough year or so, but the big shows will be there. There will be theater to see.
And of course, this is just a proposed tax — who knows if it will even pass?
The big thing that this speaks to, I think, is that New York is in big, big trouble. Remember how Disney came in to Times Square and everyone bemoaned the loss of the good old dirty days (myself included, even though I hadn’t really experienced the good old dirty days)? Take a walk down Eighth Avenue around 11pm some night. It’s not the way it used to be, but you’re sure to see some of it creeping back in.
And now there’s going to be a lot less tax revenue.