The extra 1% sales tax all residents of the Historic Triangle are now paying may not seem like a lot of money. But to read the actual income produced by this tax is staggering. In an article from the Virginia Gazette: “In December, the Tourism Council approved a $8.5 million budget for 2019. The Tourism Council expects revenue of $16.4 million in 2019, according to a projection dated Jan. 9. The figure includes revenue from the 1-percent sales tax increase and $2 transient occupancy tax provided by Senate Bill 942 and localities’ allocations.”
Now how will this money be spent? Just take a look at the 2018 Tourism Development Fund Progress Report graph:
There is only one company name on this graph: CultureFix. How can one non-profit have so much influence as to make it on the official development report on how this new taxpayer windfall will be used? We’re curious as well and hope that the appointed Council who will be overseeing distribution of these tax dollars will notice that it doesn’t look good to have already tapped a beneficiary of these funds.
A Virginia Gazette reader suggested that CultureFix take over the retired First Night New Year’s Eve program with some of this new taxpayer money. But is that how your money should be spent?
What this means to you – the extra 1% you pay on everything but groceries will partially go to fund a private company’s endeavors to put on live entertainment in the area.
Non-profits have an aura of altruism. CultureFix is a non-profit so that means they are not making money but just doing it for the benefit of residents, right? But that in no way means they don’t make money. A business can claim non-profit status but give all members $100,000 a year salary. I’m not saying that’s the case with CultureFix, but the fact that their business name is on this flowchart above makes me wonder how they received golden status when it comes to distribution of taxpayer funds.