Last updated: December 12. 2013 9:58AM - 1153 Views
Amanda Moss Staff Writer

File photoPatrons of Discovery Place KIDS in downtown Rockingham will not be impacted by the expansion of the state sales tax until next October.
File photoPatrons of Discovery Place KIDS in downtown Rockingham will not be impacted by the expansion of the state sales tax until next October.
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Get ready to open your wallet up to pay a little more for admission tickets.

An upcoming addition to sales tax will possibly mean higher admission prices for museums, theaters, cinemas, sporting events and concerts.

Beginning Jan. 1, there will be a potential addition 6.75 percent tax to these admission tickets. In Richmond County, museums and other centers affected by the tax expansion are handling it in a variety of ways.

The state sales tax expansion was passed into by the General Assembly in July. The bill passed in the House, 77-36, and in the Senate by a 32-17 vote. Richmond County’s delegation to Raleigh, Sen. Gene McLaurin and representatives Ken Goodman and Garland Pierce, all voted against the law.

The new tax will only affect those organizations that charge admission. Museums that do not charge admission fees, such as the Hamlet Depot and Museums and the National Railroad Museum in Hamlet, will not be affected by the increase.

The board of directors for The Rankin Museum in Ellerbe have yet to discuss how the museum will be affected, said Gail Benson, museum curator.

“This is the first I have heard of it,” Benson said. “But I really can’t see the museum raising their ticket prices. The board may simply decide to try and absorb it, especially with the economy the way it is. They’ll probably have to see how it will affect the operation of the museum, but I’m just speculating.”

Discovery Place KIDS museum will also be affected by the tax increase, said Kaitlin Rogers, manager of public relations and marketing.

“The tax will eventually impact admission to Discovery Place KIDS in Rockingham, as well as all our museums,” Rogers said. “However, we do not anticipate needing to begin this until October of 2014.”

Patrons to the DeWitt Series at Cole Auditorium in Hamlet will be impacted much sooner. The tax will be reflected in tickets purchased after Dec. 19. The increase will add up to $3 per ticket.

“The biggest reason it is going to be reflected in the ticket prices is due to budgetary reasons,” said Joey Bennett, director of the Cole Auditorium. “This new tax is coming in the middle of the season with our budget already established, and we have not budgeted for it. With the number of tickets we sell it could potentially wreck our budget. This was something that literally was confirmed in the last couple of months.”

The auditorium is hoping to give people a heads up so they can purchase tickets for future shows during their 2013-14 season to avoid the tax. If tickets are purchased before Dec. 19, the new tax will not be reflected in the ticket price.

“We want to give our patrons some notice to help avoid any price increase,” Bennett said. “We want to save them any amount of money that we can, but unfortunately, we cannot absorb this.”

Bennett said that the auditorium will take another look at the new tax when they discuss the next season’s budget and season ticket prices to see if there is anything they can do.

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