December 19, 2019
Two important policy priorities that were advanced by Theatre Communications Group will directly increase theatres’ capacity to serve their communities. Measures that will remove a tax on nonprofit parking and commuting benefits and increased resources in support of the arts are included in a package of year-end spending and tax provisions expected to be signed into law by the end of this week.
Repeal of Tax on Parking and Commuting Benefits
The 21% Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on parking and commuting benefits that was created by comprehensive tax reform signed into law in December 2017 would be retroactively repealed in the deal negotiated across the House, Senate, and White House. The unprecedented tax on nonprofit expenses has created significant new costs to theatres and the broader nonprofit sector, diverting essential resources needed for serving communities. TCG has participated in advocacy efforts to repeal this tax in Washington, rallying theatre advocates to help raise awareness on Capitol Hill, and partnering with nonprofits across the sector to make the case for removing this harmful tax. We'll keep theatres informed of all the details as repeal is enacted (including information on seeking refunds for taxes paid).
FY20 Funding Advances for the NEA and Arts Education
The spending agreement reached by Congress would increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts by $7.25 million, raising the NEA’s appropriation to $162.25 million for FY20. The spending agreement will also protect current level-funding for the Arts in Education programs of the U.S. Department of Education, and increase the Title IV-A "Well-Rounded" education funding stream administered by states in support of local schools.
These funding and tax provisions gained bipartisan support through active, year-round advocacy by TCG and its members in close partnership with fellow advocates. Theatre leaders participated in meetings with policy leaders in their own communities, joined TCG on Capitol Hill, and TCG partnered with colleagues in the arts and nonprofit sectors to make all voices heard.
Note that these provisions need to clear the Senate and White House before going into effect and, despite advanced negotiations, nothing is done until it is done, so do stay tuned.
We thank you for all you've done to stay in engaged in 2019, and look forward to further progress in 2020!