Few dreamed that the tax could do so much by costing each of us so little
Not only was the idea to create a small sales tax to fund arts and science programs and facilities a good idea, it’s been an astounding success for almost 30 years.
The renewal vote to continue to the 1-penny-on-1-dollar Science and Cultural Facilities District Tax is on the ballot for metro residents this year. We recommend a resounding yes vote.
The tax and the district were created to save Denver’s failing zoo and sagging major museums back in the mid-1980s. As an added bonus, some money was supposed to get spread around to the then-Denver Symphony Orchestra and a smattering of small theaters, galleries and dance groups across the metro area. At a time when public cynicism was high, it was a remarkable victory to create the program.
The district now collects upward of $50 million a year and has allowed Denver’s botanic gardens, zoo, art museum, science and history museum and performing arts complex to rival others across the nation. Not only that, but this inspiring tax has also saved what is now the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and it’s made all of the phenomenal regional dance and theater possible. Those regional attractions include some of the area’s top theater houses and companies right here in Aurora, including the Aurora Fox Arts Center, the Vintage Theatre and the John Hand Theater.
Few dreamed that the tax could do so much by costing each of us so little.
We have seriously complained that Denver’s big venues receive far too much of the pie, robbing a growing number of smaller projects of desperately needed funds. The largest attractions are now nationally renowned and able to find national funding sources. The Denver-tilted system precludes new regional venues and projects because the seed money is spoken for. The problem is still fixable. There is no law that would preclude Denver’s largest venues from giving back money to ensure the rich cultural landscape survive.
But even as the renewal measure is written, the SCFD program is a remarkable success and asset to all of Colorado. To dismiss it would be one of the greatest follies in state history. Vote yes on Prop 4B.