Taxes, Minors And More On Statehouse
Here We Go – Again!
by Belinda Judson
Executive Director, Mid-States NATO
Many of the state legislatures reconvened
after the first of the year and, boy, have our representatives
As one might imagine, there are a myriad
of statehouse tax proposals being introduced all over the
they cover everything from income to corporate to personal
property. Businesses face new proposals for gross receipts
taxes and reconsideration of current exemptions on sales
and use taxes. While tax legislation pertaining to the
exhibition industry is usually very specific, many of these
bills bear watching to make certain that movie theatres
do not become a part of the taxation mix.
A few states have legislative proposals
to allow counties, cities or towns to charge admissions
taxes. These obviously
would have a direct impact on exhibition and are being
handled in the appropriate states.
Other common pieces of legislation address
the issue of violent and obscene materials. Several states
concerning violent videogames: their sale or rental to
minors, their ratings and where they may be displayed.
Others have proposals regarding excise taxes on obscene
materials, zoning for adult businesses, library filters
for Internet materials and violence in television and radio
programming. One state actually introduced legislation
regarding children in vehicles viewing adult entertainment.
While not specific to cinemas, these proposals reflect
the mood in our state capitols regarding violent and obscene
materials. This means exhibitors need to remain vigilant
about enforcing our rating system so legislators are not
tempted to codify that system.
Gift certificates also seem to be a “hot button” this
session. Many states have legislation regarding the expiration
dates of gift certificates with some states specifying
an extended validity period beyond the expiration date.
Others want these certificates to be valid indefinitely
(your accountants may have issues with this one).
And this is to say nothing of proposed legislation
dealing with movie start times. Or legislation intended
children from switching auditoria.
There is a bit of good news in that many
state legislators want to help cinema owners fight piracy
by banning unauthorized
camcording in cinema auditoria. Several exhibitors
have already worked with lawmakers to see that this legislation
is enacted, and many more may be called upon to work
with state NATO representatives and the MPAA to campaign
states that still need to be covered. You could be
to write letters, contact your lawmakers and testify
before committees to help get this legislation passed.
try to make yourself available if called upon to do
One of the most interesting things about
monitoring legislation is you never know what you are going
see next. One
of the most difficult things about monitoring and
dealing with proposed legislation is you never know what
going to see next. But with your help, we will continue