TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Legislators discussed a bill on Thursday that would allow cinemas to withhold state sales taxes on tickets and concessions. The local sales tax would still have to be levied.
This would be for the next two years starting in July. According to estimates, it could cost the state nearly $ 7 million a year.
Revenue for movie theaters fell sharply last year due to social distancing efforts during the pandemic, but there is hope that movie theaters can get more viewers this year.
“It would help in this recovery period, we don’t expect to reach our pre-pandemic capacity until around 2023-2024,” said Todd Halstead, executive director, Theater Owners of Mid-America.
People in the industry said things were getting better, but they could use some help.
“It was a very, very devastatingly tough year. We’re still operating at an 80 percent loss in 2019, ”said Bobbie Bagby Ford, Executive Vice President for B&B Theaters. “This bill will give us the time to get back up.”
Proponents of the bill said it was good for both people and the economy to help theaters get back on track.
“They are economic multipliers in their communities. They direct pedestrian traffic to local businesses. They are cultural and community centers, ”Halstead said. “It’s just so important that many of these little towns across the state, where jobs and entertainment outside the home are so far apart that we keep the Kansas cinema industry going.”
The bill would have to be voted out of the Senate’s tax committee for a full vote.