Legislative Watch 2007
These things are written to be about as exciting as intrusive dental surgery. They're bills, and every year for three months representatives from around the state travel to Salt Lake to write, debate and vote on the things while they enjoy the soupy air the Capitol city is becoming increasingly well-known for.
Most of these bills go unnoticed by the pages of this ezine, not because they are unimportant (though there are plenty of those every year) but because they don't impact the visual arts community. But every year there are some -- usually appropriation bills -- which do impact our community, and, with the aid of some heavy doses of pain medication, we are braving the high-pitched pain that is sorting through the legislature every year to keep you apprised of what's going on up there on the hill and what you can do about it.
The most salient bill to affect the visual arts community this year is UT: SB 64 Tourism, Recreation, Cultural, and Convention Facilities Tax - Imposition, Distribution, and Expenditure of Revenues. Here's the jist of it in the most accurate, plain English we can manage. Currently, there is a tax (called the "restaurant tax") imposed on restaurant, car rental, and hotel/motel sales that is used by Counties for qualifying tourism, recreation, cultural, or convention center expenditures (as set forth in Utah Code 59-12-603). As Anthony L. Rampton recently pointed out in a Salt Lake Tribune editorial, the restaurant tax was initially enacted in the 1980s as a way to provide maintenance for The Bicentennial Arts Complex (Abravanel Hall , the Salt Lake Arts Center and a renovated Capitol Theatre).
If SB 64 were to pass, the tax would continue to be imposed but the monies collected would be distributed between County and City entities, based partly on where the sales transaction takes place and partly on the population of that city or county. In other words, the counties would receive less ($15 million) than they currently receive to fund the same facilities. The cities would receive that portion of the tax money to be used for applicable expenditures. In addition to affecting county-run facilities such as rec centers, the Salt Palace, and the South Towne Expo Center, the bill would affect county-owned arts facilities such as the Rose Wagner Arts Center, Salt Lake Art Center and Abravanel Hall.
City mayors, such as Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan and Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall, argue the bill is an effort to make a more equitable (less money to Salt Lake and more to the outlying communities) distribution of the tax money. County Mayor Peter Corroon says the bill would have a devastating effect on county-run facilities. He also emphasizes the ability of the county to fund larger projects, which individual cities will be unable to fund with the distributed tax money.
Last week, the bill was passed out of Committee ( Yeas: Senators Curtis Bramble, Mike Dmitrich, Wayne Niederhauser, John Valentine, Michael Waddoups; Nays: Brent Goodfellow, Jon Greiner, Howard Stephenson) and now goes to the floor of the Senate for debate.
You can read the bill here. The Utah Cultural Alliance provides information on cultural advocacy in Utah as well as information on how to contact your legislators.
Go here to comment on this issue.
About You: Results from our 2007 Survey
The following are the results from our survey published in the January edition of 15 Bytes. The sampling represented here is 12% of our subscribers.
I am a:
47% Professional Artist
26% Amateur Artist
17% Art Lover
10% Art Professional
When 15 BYTES comes out I read:
43% Entire issue
39% A few pages
18% One or two articles
I have been reading 15 BYTES:
12% A month or two
16% Over six months
39% Over a year
26% Since the beginning
I click on the links in 15 Bytes:
4% Almost never
I print out 15 Bytes:
How our features rate on an ascending scale of 1 to 5:
Studio Space : 3.9 | On the Spot :3.9 Recently Read : 3.4 | Mixed Media: 3.5 Alder's Accounts : 3.5
Would you be interested in a Hints & Tips column, for both artists and collectors?
How are we doing covering the entire state?
32% Needs some work
Recently we have had articles that have branched outside of Utah. What do you think?
29% Stick to covering Utah only
71% Okay, but keep it within reason
|| read some of your comments
15 Bytes: About Us
Tom Alder is a banker by day but in his free time explores his interest in Utah art. He is on the board of the Museum of Utah Art and History, organizes the yearly Zion's Bank Art Show, and is currently working on a Masters Thesis on Henri Moser.
Cara Despain has a BFA from the University of Utah and is an artist and freelance writer.
Jim Frazer, originally from Atlanta, has been living and working as an artist in Salt Lake for the past seven years. He will be showing at the Finch Lane Gallery in Spring of 2007.
Jay Heuman has an MA in Art History from York University. He is the curator of education at the Salt Lake Art Center.
Lisa B. Huber is a native Utah artist who works in pencil and watercolors. She is also a published poet and writer, works by day as a Software Developer, and resides in Washington City, Utah.
Sue Martin holds an M.A. in Theatre and has worked in public relations. As an artist, she works in watercolor, oil, and acrylic to capture Utah landscapes or the beauty of everyday objects in still life.
Elizabeth Matthews, a full-time artist and part-time writer, is a recent graduate of the BYU art program and lives in West Jordan.
Shawn Rossiter, a native of Boston and graduate of BYU, lives and paints in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City.
Tony Watson is originally from Washington State but has lived most of his adult life in Utah. No one occupation has occupied his working hours but his leisure hours are spent either climbing southern Utah's redrock country or engaging his mind with aesthetic issues.
Geoff Wichert is a professor of Art History at Snow College, as well as a glass and multi-media artist. He has been writing about art for over 25 years in regional, national and international publications.
15 Bytes is published monthly by Artists of Utah, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City Utah. The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 15 Bytes or Artists of Utah. Our editions are published monthly on the first Wednesday of the month. Our deadline for submissions is the last Wednesday of the preceeding month.
Editor: Shawn Rossiter
Assitant Editor: Laura Durham