When multi-millionaire athletes perform in Missouri, or when the big-time music group does a concert here, they leave some of their money behind to support the arts. But the program is facing the end without legislative action.
The Non-resident Athletes and Entertainers tax is twenty years old this year, but only two years away from ending. Proposals to extend it are being reviewed at the Capitol.
Although the two percent tax raises an estimated $33-million a year, the legislature siphons off several million dollars for other purposes, still leaving millions for five purposes–sixty percent for the Missouri Arts Council, and ten percent each for state library networking, the Missouri Humanities Council, public television and radio, and historic preservation.
The President of the Arts Council, Theresa Fankhauser of St. Joseph, says the money is critical for arts education, especially for small schools. Others asking legislative committees to extend the tax say clients of smaller libraries have the same access to materials that patrons of larger libraries have because of the money, and some smaller counties can afford such things as historical museums because of those funds.
But if the legislature doesn’t act, the tax ends in 2016.