Tax Abatement Proposal Makes Progress 

Updated 6/7/10 

The tax abatement proposal has garnered support from all 12 Manhattan Community Boards. There has been a remarkable amount of positive momentum in support of the Tax Abatement proposal. With the inspiring and unprecedented cooperation of all the Manhattan Community Boards (CB), that momentum continues to grow. As a normal part of the process, Community Boards hold forums where the public is allowed to express opinions on the proposals. Because public opinion carries substantial weight, your voice could help determine the fate of this movement.

The OOB community has been enthusiastic in showing support for this proposal that offers a tax credit to commercial land lords that either donates space or rents space at rates significantly below market value to non-profit theatre companies. At the Community Board 4 meeting on February 3, 2010, Senator Tom Duane voiced his support for the proposal as did Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal. Many members of the theatre community showed up to support the effort including Jan Buttram from the Abingdon Theatre who informed the board that her property tax increased from $8,000 to $14,000 last year. She said the money was being charged to her landlord, but “it’s being taken from our pockets.” Ginny Louloudes of ART/NY came armed with down and dirty economic impact estimates that she pulled together from 40 theatres. By her account those 40 theatres pumped $36 million into the economy last year. Paul Bargetto of the League of Independent Theatre said “this is the best idea I’ve ever heard for helping Off-Off-Broadway theatres.” Shay Gines provided statistics that showed the demise of 26% of the OOB venues in the mid-town area which she said are “pushing these theatre organizations and artists out of the theatre district.” Kirstine Nordine from Fractured Atlas, David Gruber from CB2, Jeffrey Keenan and many others also gave informative and impassioned addresses. It was not surprising that the proposal passed CB4 unanimously.

Over the next couple of weeks, Community Boards 1, 5, 6, 8 and 12 all overwhelmingly passed the proposal.

Community members such as ART/NY's Ginny Louloudes and FAB's Tamara Greenfield braved the weather to attend the CB3 meeting on February 23, 2010. Brad Burgess from The Living Theatre spoke, reminding the committee that some OOB theatres had been in CB3 for over 50 years and have been an important part of the cultural vitality of those neighborhoods. In comparison Burgess said that “Mickey Mantel played for the Yankees for 16 years and look at his contribution to New York culture. So this proposal is truly supporting New York culture.” Many theatres, like The Living Theatre, are currently struggling to keep their space. Community Board 3 voted unanimously to pass the proposal.

At this point all 12 Manhattan Community Boards have overwhelmingly passed the resolution/letter of support. However in order for this idea to become a law, it will require support from all 5 NYC boroughs.

This innovative arts policy doesn't stop with NYC. Other cities across the country are studying the proposal. The City of San Francisco has requested additional information and will continue to watch the progress of this proposal. This particular type of tax credit that does not require huge upfront capital could provide them with a low cost solution for revitalizing the “Tenderloin” area of the city and providing much needed space for artists.

The next step is to gain city wide support and the outer boroughs are an important step in helping to make this idea come to fruition. Your opinion counts and this proposal can only benefit from your presence and participation at the Community Boards' public sessions.

Next Community Board Meetings


As Community Boards in the outer boroughs bring this resolution (or letter) up for a vote, we will let you know of the time, date and place of their respective meetings.


Resolution passed by Community Board 3

The Letter from Community Board 4 to Christine Quinn's office informs our elected officials of the Community Board alliance formed to support small to mid-sized non-profit performing arts organizations, and in addition, asks for their consideration of an innovative tax credit proposal to help us reduce the crisis confronting the independent theater sector


Tax Abatement Proposal Passed by All 12 Manhattan Community Boards by David Pincus
Tax Credit to Benefit Off-Off-Broadway 1/22/2010
Tax Abatement Help on the Way for Neighborhood Theatres by Serena Solomon 1/28/10
Arts & Culture committees Create Alliance to Craft Innovative Solutions for NYC Theatres in Crisis on Broadway World 1/21/10
Movement Seen for Tax-Break Plan for NYC Landlords Leasing Space to Artists by Leonard Jacobs 1/20/10
Manhattan Community Boards Join Forces on Off-Off-Broadway Proposal by Thomas Reimschneider, Back Stage 1/21/10

We would like to extend a special thanks to Katie Rosin at Kampfire Films PR for her dedicated help in spreading the word about this important issue.


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