Ticket prices are to rise at major venues in Chicago after lawmakers voted to increase the US city’s amusement tax by four per cent from next year.
As of 2018 venues with a capacity of more than 1,500 must charge a levy of nine per cent on ticket prices, up from the five per cent currently in place. Locations with a 750–1,499 capacity – previously taxed at five per cent – will be exempt, while those with under 750 seats will similarly pay no tax.
The increase on larger venues was proposed as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2018 budget, which was backed overwhelmingly by councillors this week.
Emanuel expects that the levy, imposed on tickets to any “live cultural performance in a for-profit venue”, will generate almost $16m (£12m/€13.5m) for city coffers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Stop Higher Amusement Taxes, a coalition of thousands of Chicago entertainment-industry workers, opposes the rise, saying “higher concert amusement taxes will drive shows to venues outside of Chicago to more tax-friendly local cities – or worse: some shows may bypass Chicago altogether.”
The amusement tax made headlines last year after it emerged two venues – both of which will now be exempt – were being chased for $200,000 in “crippling” back taxes.
Chicago is the US’s third largest city with a population of 2.7 million. Major venues in the city include Soldier Field, the 61,500-capacity venue of the Chicago Bears, and the 23,500-seat United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls NBA team.