City Desk

From Arts Desk: Popcorn Tax Not a Hit With Theaters

Benjamin R. Freed reports that a plan to institute a five percent tax on concessions at movie theaters—which in large part will help pay for a movie theater in Ward 7 or 8—is catching some flak from theater owners:

Currently, like concessions sold at other venues like stadiums and concert halls, the District's standard sales tax of 10 percent is built in to the listed prices of movie theater snacks. But movie theaters and some District policymakers are cool to the idea.

Yesterday, Josh Levin, who runs the West End Cinema, told Arts Desk that with customers already lukewarm toward concession prices, the prospect of having to collect an additional 5 percent sales tax "would impact us negatively." But with the cost of a combination of, say, a medium soda and a sack of popcorn big enough to last through the end of the first act, at $11, Green says that an additional 5 percent (55 cents in that example) "is not a lot in addition" to what a customer is already paying. Still, movie theaters say, the cost would be felt.

"It’s our feeling that a concession tax would be a disincentive to someone opening a theater," says Todd Halstead, NATO's deputy director of government affairs. "It is misdirected and unfair to tax movie theaters that contribute to the district’s economy to subsidize a direct competitor."

Photo by Norwichnuts via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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  • Typical DC BS

    Typical DC stupidity with this idea. A tax on movie theaters so they can fund competitors in Wards 7 & 8? What will the Democratic mind dream up next that flies in the face of common sense?

  • Tim

    Probably would've been a good idea to state that NATO is an acronym for the National Association of Theater Owners. I took me a few seconds to figure out why an international military organization based in Brussels would care about a popcorn tax in DC.

  • RJM

    Hey nothing like keeping people out of the city, raise parking rate, meter times, event tickets and now this. To fund a movie house in SE of all places, how stupid just like the mayor and members of the council.

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