Arts Council looks to gain from baseball

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Buying tickets to see a Royals baseball game could actually benefit the arts.

While the Senate heard the second reading of Bill 1395, April 13, recipients of money from the Missouri Arts Council played folk music and danced on the steps of the Capital.

Sponsored by Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), the bill changes the artist and entertainers tax law so that it would no longer restrict the amount of money that the Missouri Arts Council could receive through there percentage share of the tax revenues.

Currently, the law restricts the share to $10 million.

“So, when the Yankees come to the Royals stadium it is a really good day,” Shields said.

For the past two years the Missouri Arts Council has not seen any of this money because the economy has required that all the money go into the general revenue.

He said the Missouri Arts Council had been living off there savings and was now at risk.

“Unless we get straight on appropriations, we will all be at risk,” Shields said.

Without the $10 million cap, money could be earmarked to go to the arts.

Sen. Rita Days (D-St. Louis) asked why money had to be earmarked and why it could not just go into the general revenue.

Shields said the big hope was to be able to create a cultural trust similar to the ones that currently exist in other states.

Questions were raised about how the teams were taxed.

“Do you charge the team as a whole or each player,” said Sen. Harry Kennedy (D-St. Louis).

Shields said each team member was charged a percentage of what they make.

He also said the Missouri Arts Council shares the money from the tax with the hosting stadiums.

The bill came about because so much money was being taken in from the tax and the cap prevented the Missouri Arts Council from receiving an adequate portion.

The bill had its third reading April 14.