Arts groups: Tax exemption is essential for survival

By Keith Regan
Contributing Writer
A dispute between the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and the commission overseeing East Providence’s finances has inspired the submission of legislation that would permanently protect arts and cultural nonprofits’ tax-exempt status, something many of them are worried is in danger as cash-strapped municipalities look to levy property taxes on the organizations. More

To continue reading this article, please do one of the following.



NONPROFIT

Arts groups: Tax exemption is essential for survival

COURTESY R.I. PHILHARMONIC/ RAY LARSON
IN TUNE: Local elementary school children play along with the R.I. Philharmonic during one of six 2013 Education Concerts held during April. More than 10,000 students took part in the concert series.
By Keith Regan
Contributing Writer
Posted 6/3/13

A dispute between the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and the commission overseeing East Providence’s finances has inspired the submission of legislation that would permanently protect arts and cultural nonprofits’ tax-exempt status, something many of them are worried is in danger as cash-strapped municipalities look to levy property taxes on the organizations.

R.I. Rep. Frank Ferri, D-Warwick, R.I. Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, and others have filed bills to clarify that qualifying 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing and visual arts institutions and museums are exempt from local property tax assessments, regardless of how their property is used.

“We know the arts are an economic driver in Rhode Island,” Ferri said. “We want to emphasize it’s one of our assets.”

The bills were drafted after budget commissions overseeing municipal finances in Woonsocket and East Providence sought to collect taxes on organizations such as the Philharmonic, which is locked in a legal battle with East Providence over a tax bill of just under $160,000 for its 40,000-square-foot headquarters and school building on Waterman Street.

The Philharmonic has challenged the tax assessment; that dispute is heading to Superior Court.

Executive Director David Beauchesne said losing tax-exempt status would threaten the organization’s ability to survive.

“Our business model is based on raising funds, largely through contributions, to provide a public service,” he said. “Every single lesson we give is subsidized, most people who buy a ticket to a concert, that ticket price has been subsidized. It’s not as though we can cut back on programs and reallocate those funds to pay a tax bill. We just don’t have anywhere to pull those funds from.”

Next Page
Calendar
PBN Hosted
Events

Join PBN for the best networking event and party of the winter - January 15, 2015 - the Book of Lists Party at the Providence Public Library. Reserve your spot by December 31st and get a holiday gift from PBN!
  • Best Places to Work
    Enrollment is now open for the 7th annual Best Places to Work program. Winners w ...
  • Manufacturing Awards
    Applications are now being accepted for the 2nd Annual Manufacturing Awards. Dea ...
Advertisement
Purchase Data
Book of Lists
Lists
Book of Lists cover
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.
Data icons
Data can be purchased as single lists, in either Excel or PDF format; the entire database of the published book, in Excel format; or a printed copy of the Book of Lists.
  • Purchase an e-File of a single list
  •  
  • Purchase an e-File of the entire Book of Lists database
  •  
  • Purchase a printed copy of the Book of Lists
  •  
    National
    Local
    Latest News
    Advertisement