Despite Mayor Jackson’s seeming reluctance to find any compromise on the City of Cleveland’s burdensome admissions tax policy for small music clubs, allies of local music acted in City Council, enacting a sliding tax policy that should give club owners a little more room to operate. In a unanimous vote, council exempted music clubs holding fewer than 150 patrons from the current 8% tax on ticket sales and cut the rate in half for those venues which hold between 151 and 750.
No doubt about it, this is a positive step for both the club owners and those who support live music in the city. Without action, this tax, which only recently had begun to be aggressively collected, had the potential to cripple or even shutter many of Cleveland’s beloved clubs.
There’s still the matter of back taxes, which for the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern has been reported to be in the range of $400,000. Wednesday’s legislation did not address unpaid taxes. Yet, with the unquestioned support of council, there’s a renewed sense that a mutually beneficial outcome can be found here, too.
You can breathe, Cleveland, Rock ‘N’ Roll has lived for another day.