A proposed sales tax to create a steady stream of funding for the arts in Atlanta appears to be dead.
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Mayor Kasim Reed needed Georgia lawmakers to sign off on the plan in order to put it before voters as a referendum in November. The idea was to let constituents decide whether they wanted to pay a one-tenth of a penny tax to support music, dance, theater or other artistic ventures in the city.
State Rep. Pat Gardner leads the Atlanta delegation at the Capitol, the group that likely would have introduced Reed’s plan as a local bill. Because of rules about local legislation, the deadline to file such a bill is Monday.
Gardner says the arts tax bill encountered a last-minute legal hurdle. She says she doesn’t have any more details, but the city of Atlanta says it will respond to WABE later this week.
Gardner says the bill now has almost no chance of even being introduced.
“If you’d asked me Friday, I would have said I thought there was [a chance for the bill]. Today, I don’t think there is,” she says. “Who knows what will happen in the next two weeks.”
She says it might be possible be to squeeze in the arts sales tax plan before the legislative session ends March 30, but she says that’s unlikely. She’d like to see another try at increasing arts funding in future years.