by William Skink
In more Covid bailout news that won’t benefit your bank account, our very own Senator, Jon Tester, is teaming up with Tom Carper, from Delaware, to bailout operators of entertainment venues with federal legislation called the ENCORES Act:
The Entertainments New Credit Opportunity for Relief & Economic Sustainability, or ENCORES Act, was introduced last week by Tester and Tom Carper, D-Delaware. The bill would create a new tax credit for live entertainment venues with fewer than 500 employees to help cover the cost of refunded tickets for shows that were canceled due to the pandemic.
The emphasis is mine because bailing out “smaller” entertainment operators is one way to explain why Senators from Montana and Delaware are carrying this legislation. Another way to explain it is Nick Checota:
“As our industry faces an indefinite shutdown, the largest expense for independent venues and promoters is the cost of refunding tickets for shows that will not be able to happen to the foreseeable future,” said Nick Checota, owner of Logjam Presents and The Wilma Theater, Top Hat Lounge and the KettleHouse Amphitheater in Missoula. “Tester’s ENCORES Act would provide local venues like mine the help we need to face this challenge.”
Are other cities facing similar challenges? How about the top 25 cities that get the most concerts in the U.S.? Do the entertainment operators in these big cultural centers have businesses of less than 500 people who will be helped by this critical legislation?
I’m sure the uncertainty regarding Missoula’s crown jewel of gentrification at the Riverfront Triangle site, which Nick Checota resurrected last October, has nothing to do with this legislation.
Yeah, nothing to see here at all.
So, the political rah-rah and media reports of course miss the real detail. The tax credit isn’t for the cost of the refunds (i.e. figuring out who bought tickets, and the administrative costs of reimbursing them). It is a 50% tax credit on the purchase price of the ticket. In other words, a 50% profit or bonus for Checota and others for shows they never had to produce, but sold tickets to. The costs of keeping staff on for a few months has already been gifted to him through the PPP.
Interesting that the bill doesn’t contain any cost limits or projections. The IRS will just grant a tax credit to Checota on demand. Sweet!
Wonder how much the Checota universe has donated to Tester’s campaigns, or in his farm?
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