Mayor proposes tax break for music venues
Live music venues in Seattle would get a tax break under a budget proposal by Mayor Greg Nickels. The mayor intends to exempt some clubs from paying an admissions tax, which is 5 percent of every dollar of ticket sales.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Live music venues in Seattle should get a tax break, Mayor Greg Nickels said today.
As part of his budget proposal, Nickels intends to exempt clubs that hold fewer than 1,000 people from paying an admissions tax, which is 5 percent of every dollar of ticket sales. If the City Council approves the tax break, city revenues would be cut by $300,000, the mayor's office estimated.
Nickels did not say that clubs were suffering more than other businesses from the economic downturn but called music and nightlife a priorities for him.
"Our musicians are part of our identity as a city," Nickels said at a news conference at Neumo's, a club on Capitol Hill. "With these initiatives, I look forward to building our reputation."
Nickels' administration has had a tough relationship with the nightclub industry in recent years.
The mayor cited his work establishing an Office of Film and Music and getting rid of the teen-dance ordinance. But he has also taken steps to close clubs after violent incidents, and last fall Seattle police conducted an undercover sting operation on underage drinking at several bars and clubs.
Steven Severin, one of Neumo's owners, said the tax break would allow his musicians to collect a larger percentage of ticket sales.
"This is destined to put more money into the pockets of musicians," he said.
The mayor's office estimates 65 venues could take advantage of the tax break. Clubs that have a capacity of fewer than 1,000 people, present live music three times a week and hire 16 musicians a week would qualify.
The mayor expects to present his budget proposal Sept. 29.
Sharon Pian Chan: 206-464-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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