Local supporters push sales tax for arts
It is an idea intended to forge an alliance within the Fayette County arts community that will work to help bring about a voter referendum to benefit the cultural arts by using a fraction of a penny in local sales taxes already being collected.
Fayette Art Center Executive Director Kathaleen Brewer last week explained that the idea of having local communities vote to designate a portion of a penny of existing sales taxes to the arts first surfaced last year in the General Assembly.
Though approved by the Senate, the measure did not make it through the House. Brewer and the Georgia Communities for Growth (formerly the Friends of Arts & Culture) hope the outcome will be different this year.
Brewer said the initiative would be benefitted if those in each area of the Fayette County arts community would join together to form a local arts commission.
The process behind using a portion of existing local sales tax revenues for the arts is two-fold. The first step is to have legislation passed that will give each city or county ability to put the measure on an upcoming ballot and decide what fraction of a penny of existing sales tax would be designated.
Revenues from the allocation would be used for the arts and cultural organizations and other community development initiatives deemed appropriate.
Secondly, it would be up to voters to approve the measure.
Brewer said that, if approved, the funding could be used to pay for needed staff and to purchase vacant historic houses for renovation for arts and literary purposes. Funds could help pay for the conversion of unused buildings into centers for various arts and cultural activities.
“All of this would increase tourism and provide education and public access to the cultural arts,” Brewer said. “We are still the only metro Atlanta county without a cultural arts community and cultural arts category in government and within the chamber of commerce. We could become ‘The Center’ within the Southern Arc and that would help keep property values up.”
Those interested in participating in the arts initiative should contact Kathaleen Brewer at Kathaleenbrewer@comcast.net or at 678-545-0275.