Future Of Tempe Arts Sales Tax Up To Voters

By Mariana Dale
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 11:35am
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 11:36am
Tempe Center for the Arts/Facebook
The Tempe Center For The Arts opened in September 2007.

Tempe voters will consider permanently extending a 0.1 percent sales tax to support arts in November’s election.

The tax was first approved by voters in 2000 and helped pay for the Tempe Center For the Arts.

“It will not only support arts and culture, but heritage, our museum, plus the historic buildings that Tempe owns,” said Woody Wilson, who helped advise Tempe’s leaders about extending the tax. Wilson also founded Lakeshore Music which holds concerts at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

If voters don’t approve Proposition 417, the arts tax will expire in 2020 and Tempe will have to eliminate much of its arts programming. The city’s total sales tax rate is 1.8 percent.

The arts tax would raise an estimated $8.7 million a year. Proceeds from the tax would fund art programs for kids, care for the city’s historic homes and expand dance, music and theatre productions.

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 “What we want to do is make sure there’s a wide ... diversity of programming that is is there for everybody,” Wilson said. “Your idea of art and my idea of art may be completely different.”