Attention Registered Voters in the City of Boulder:
We are just three weeks away from Election Day on November 7th and days away from mail-in-ballots showing up in mailboxes. We need your help if we are going to successfully pass 2A and secure long-term sustainable funding for the arts!
eTown proudly endorses this once in a generation opportunity in the City of Boulder to secure long-term funding for critical community needs. This initiative would ensure that 50% of the tax revenue gathered from an existing 0.15% sales tax would be allocated to arts and culture. The other 50% of the revenue would be designated into the City General Fund to support homeless solutions, behavioral health, public safety, human services, parks, and other general needs.
- No New Taxes, Just an Extension: The City is not proposing a new tax; this is simply the second extension of a General Fund1 sales tax first approved by Boulder voters 25 years ago. It raises about $7.5 million annually. The tax amounts to 15 cents on every $100 purchase.
- Underinvestment in Arts and Culture: The City has consistently underinvested in arts and culture, currently spending 60% less than comparable cities, as confirmed by the City’s own study. As a result, the City’s master plan for arts and culture, the 2015 Community Cultural Plan, has been inadequately funded and only partially implemented. Strategies needing additional funding include: grants to nonprofits, artists and arts educators and venue support to fill gaps and address issues of access and affordability.
- 50% Dedicated to Arts and Culture: Allocating 50% of the tax revenue to arts and culture won’t require cuts in other city spending. It’s a win-win for our entire community, offering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address arts funding shortfalls AND other community priorities without cutting other services.
- 50% for General Funds: The remaining 50% of this sales tax will go into the City’s General Fund. When combined with the savings from the 2022 voter-approved Library District, it will provide additional funding for homeless solutions, behavioral health, public safety, human services, parks, and other general purposes.
- Economic Benefits of Arts and Culture: The nonprofit arts and culture sector generates approximately $90 million in economic impact annually and contributes almost $3 million in City tax revenues, which can be used to fund other essential services. Event-related spending at restaurants, hotels, and local businesses by 1.3 million arts and culture event attendees totals $44 million. (Note: All data is pre-pandemic and inflation-adjusted.)
- Social, Health, and Educational Benefits: Decades of research demonstrate that the arts help build social cohesion, promote civic engagement, foster cross-cultural understanding, improve mental and physical health, enhance educational outcomes for our youth across all socio-economic backgrounds, attract and retain the workforce our businesses need, and make communities more welcoming to all.
- Critical for Avoiding Service Cuts: According to the City’s budget staff and City Manager, passing this tax extension is “critical” and will help us avoid service cuts in 2025 and beyond. It’s a vital step for our city’s continued vitality and resiliency.
- The Timing for Additional Arts Support is Excellent: In 2024, the City will be updating its Community Cultural Plan. The timing for this tax money is very advantageous as the City will be able to create a robust and actionable Plan from 2025 through 2034 with the financial means to accomplish its goals.