A State Sen. in Michigan is pushing for an event ticket tax that would reportedly be used to fund police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel in the city of Detroit, according to a story on MLive.com.
Sen. Coleman Young II, who represents the city, introduced the proposed law, called the Sporting Entertainment Tax Act. It would add a $3 excise tax per ticket for all sporting events and concerts at venues in cities of 500,000 or more, and events at venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more across the state. According to his draft bill, the money would be strictly set aside for emergency personnel, rather than pushed into a slush fund where other projects and priorities could pull from the stated purpose of the tax, a pitfall common in tax revenue generated for a politically-popular purpose without locks against other use.
“They are not only our heroes, they are our bravest and our finest,” he said. “This is not money that’s gonna be used to raise revenue to balance the budget.”
Venues in the city like Comerica Park (Tigers), Ford Field (Lions), Little Caesars Arena (Pistons and Red Wings) as well as Fox Theatre and Chene Park are among those which would be subject to the ticket tax.
Opponents of the tax are already lining up, claiming that it benefits the city but will disproportionately be paid by those living outside the city who patronize professional sporting events and concerts at these larger venues. According to the Detroit Free Press, the tax is unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Senate or House of Representatives in Michigan.
The city of Chicago recently passed an ordinance extending an existing tax, bumping the rate for concert tickets from five percent to nine percent for venues over 1,500 capacity, while eliminating the tax for venues under that threshold. That went into effect on January 1 having passed the city council by a 47-3 vote, against the strenuous opposition from operators of large venues in the city. That tax did not come with any altruistic earmarks the way the proposed Detroit tax does.