It is no secret that European countries offer a much larger amount of government support to arts organizations with weaker earning capacities as compared to the United States.
Orchestras around the world have reasons that require additional non performance revenues. Private contributions from individuals, businesses and foundations bring up most nonperformance income for U.S. orchestras. These options barely exist for European orchestras where subsidies from government agencies make up about 40% of the revenues. Further, taxes in most foreign countries transfer a larger share of money to the public sector as well.
I’d like to bring this focus to a more centralized view on Portland, Oregon. In the recent presidential election in 2012, Portland voters have approved a tax that would fund arts organizations and teachers.
“The tax would charge Portlanders $35 a year for all residents who are at least 18 years old and earn an income. Only those living below the federal poverty level would be exempt, and those individuals would be required to submit documentation to the city annually…of the roughly $12 million the measure would raise annually, only about half of that money would go toward teachers. About $4 million would go toward arts organizations through grants.”
I wonder, from this additional tax on the Portland area, if the people who value the arts and have been regular advocates and donors to arts organizations before i.e. orchestras, museums, etc. if they may decrease the amount of money they usually donate because of this tax? Would they feel that the new tax of $35 will provide significant support over their usual donations to specific organizations, even if it is divided over arts organizations and arts education? What is its effect on you? I think it would be something interesting to investigate.