"Live music bill" aims to cut alcohol taxes in half

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by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Updated Friday, May 3 at 10:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Walk around Austin any day of the year, and you’ll probably hear live music.

“I live in Austin, Texas because the live music industry brought me here when I graduated from college 23 years ago,” said State Representative Mark Strama.

Strama says his bill, HB 3095, to cut taxes on alcohol sales in half for venues that play music at least four nights a week, 45 weeks per year is aimed at strengthening the music industry itself.

“This isn't really intended for the venue, it's intended for the industry, and the people who make the music," he said.

HB 3095 requires venues to spend the money saved on taxes on musicians.

“We don't want to save the tax revenue and not put it toward what it was designed for, which is becoming a live music venue,” said Austin bar and music venue owner Bob Woody.

Woody says the current tax on mixed liquor sales is so high because there’s no state income tax. However, he does support the bill because it would mean more money for more music.

About a third of the bars that would qualify are in Austin, however, live music isn’t limited to the Capital City.

“There's a music scene in Galveston, there's a music scene in Houston, and there’s a music scene in downtown Fort Worth,” said Strama.

His bill would encourage venues across the state to keep booking bands, because "venues that pay for live performances every night have a cost that their competitors who don’t don't have,” Strama told KVUE.

A cost that he says should be reduced by half, to make room for more live music.

Critics say the state needs the $10-$15 million Strama says his bill would cost. The House has less than 30 days to decide if they will push it forward.

                                                                                                                                     

 

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