New tax to fund Atlanta arts

Mayor Kasim Reed introduced new initiative that could lead Atlanta’s artistic community forward

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At the State of the City address on Feb. 2, Mayor Kasim Reed introduced a new initiative that could lead Atlanta’s artistic community forward in the coming years.Citing what has already been accomplished, Reed highlighted the fact that the city of Atlanta has become the third-largest TV and film production center in the U.S., and the fifth-largest in the world. Additionally, the Woodruff Arts Center recently raised $110 million toward its transformation campaign, which was $10 million past its goal.To help continue Atlanta’s status as the “cultural capital of the Southeast,” the mayor unveiled a new one-tenth of a penny sales tax to be a “permanent and dedicated source of funding for the arts community in the city of Atlanta.” He encouraged Atlantans to vote in favor of the tax in November because “organizations like the Woodruff Arts Center are thriving, but our small- and medium-size groups often struggle. Our young and emerging artists need support.” The tax is proposed to “give back to the creative community that gives so much to our city day in and day out.”

According to the Atlanta Business Journal, Reed will model the legislation on a similar one-tenth of a penny arts tax in Denver that brings funds to art projects in the city’s metro areas. It is worth noting that the Colorado tax has had its fair share of critics. In 2015, the Colorado Independent reported that most of the funds generated by that tax went to only five already prominent culture centers in the city — all run by white men.