This past Saturday a public meeting was held to provide State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante the opportunity to introduce the four pieces of legislation that she has put forth to help grow the Massachusetts creative economy. The meeting was organized by Judith Hoglander, Chair for the Gloucester Committee for the Arts, and took place at the Gloucester Stage Company. Judith and Ann Margaret’s hope was to have an open exchange regarding the legislation prior to its moving forward and to create an opportunity to hear and discuss new ideas. Special guest Matt Wilson from MASSCreative also spoke about the importance of arts advocacy.
Ann Margaret’s proposed legislation could not be more on target and will have a tremendously positive impact on communities throughout Massachusetts. Time and again, around the nation, and the world over, we have seen how a thriving artistic community improves the spiritual, educational, and economic well being of a region.
Summary of the four pieces of legislation:
1.Tax credit for live-theatre-to-Broadway. What does that mean? Pre-Broadway theatres would be granted a tax-credit for the six to twelve weeks of the show’s run. How does that benefit our communities? Ann Margaret explained that Boston and Massachusetts regional theatres were formerly considered the best place for theatres in New York to test their upcoming shows. It was easy and economical to pack up the show and head to Massachusetts. Not any longer because Chicago, New Orleans, and Rhode Island now offer tax exemptions for pre-Broadway shows. Boston and Massachusetts theatres are dark during pre-Broadway runs, which means the restaurants and surrounding businesses are also empty of patrons. Did you know that the Colonial Theatre in Boston is slated to close this winter? And become luxury condos??
- Sales tax exemptions for art sales (with a cap).
- Sales tax exemptions for developers to create artist live-work space. This is huge and would also contain wording to prevent the dwellings from becoming luxury condominiums.
- Simple red/green rating system for the handicap accessibility of cultural institutions. This would not compel any change to the institution, but simply make it easier for people with a handicap to attend the venue.
A true advocate for the arts, it is worth noting that Representative Ferrante was instrumental in maintaining the film industry tax credit. She was the point person fighting this serious threat to our regional economy. There isn’t one person in Massachusetts who has not benefited directly or indirectly from our growing film industry. The business of filmmaking creates exceptional and well paying jobs (with benefits) and supports local businesses, while also generating worldwide interest in our region. Hats off to Ann Margaret Ferrante for the stellar work that she is accomplishing for Cape Ann and for all of Massachusetts.
Judith Hoglander, meeting organizer, and Chair to the Gloucester Committee for the Arts.
Jon Wojciechowski, Executive Managing Director Gloucester Stage Company
Matt Wilson, Executive Director of MASSCeative
Matt explains that the mission of MASSCreative is threefold: 1) to educate communities about the importance of the arts, 2) advocate for the arts on a political level, and 3) teach communities how to advocate for themselves. Read more about MASSCreative here.
Why does Gloucester Stage looks so funky? GO SEE OUT OF STERNO TO FIND OUT WHY!
Please Note: Ann Margaret is not running for re-election in the fall of 2015 (she will be running for re-election in 2016) and I feel strongly that by presenting the above information I am not going against the Good Morning Gloucester policy of not advocating for candidates during an active election campaign. As we have done many times in the past, it is of great value to our community to highlight the good work that is being done by our elected officials, especially in this case where the legislation that is being put forth by Representative Ferrante will directly benefit a large percentage of our community.