In a time when political differences run amok, supporting the arts remains a bi-partisan mission. Earlier this month, State Rep. Gregg Kennard (D-Lawrenceville) introduced House Bill 226 with bi-partisan co-sponsorship. HB 226 would restore tax-exemption status on ticket sales at nonprofit performing arts businesses. Gwinnett is home to many nonprofit performing arts businesses, including Aurora Theatre and Gwinnett Ballet Theatre. Responsible for creating hundreds of jobs, these nonprofits serve as major economic development engines for the county and state.
While many of us have been impacted by COVID-19, the arts and tourism industries in particular have arguably suffered tougher losses. The passage of HB 226 would give them the path to recovery they desperately need. This is not a new tax incentive, but rather an extension of the tax-exempt status already in code.
The Gwinnett Chamber has been a long-time supporter of the arts. In our public policy agenda, we support an entertainment tax incentive that creates local economic impact through means like visitor spending. Every year, the creative arts business sector accounts for 200,000 jobs while contributing $37 billion dollars to Georgia’s economy.
The Gwinnett Chamber thanks Representatives Gregg Kennard, Chuck Efstration, and Bonnie Rich, for their support as co-sponsors of this bill. We call on the Gwinnett House Delegation to also support HB 226, and we urge Representative Shaw Blackmon, Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, to make HB 226 a priority.
We also encourage our members to contact their State Representative to ask for support. To find your State Representative, click here.
HB 226 language was recently added to HB 586, Georgia Economic Recovery Act of 2021. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Sam Watson (R-Moultrie) and Rep. Bonnie Rich of the Gwinnett House delegation is a co-sponsor. Rep. Shaw Blackmon (R-Bonaire), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, is also a co-sponsor.