Legislation was passed in the Georgia House of Representatives yesterday that would exempt the Woodruff Arts Center from state and local sales tax on up to $750,000 spent on construction over the next two years.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Chuck Efstration (R-Dacula), exempts nonprofit organizations that include an art museum, symphonic hall and theater from local and state sales tax on construction projects. That definition uniquely fits the Woodruff Arts Center and, more specifically, the complete renovation of the Alliance Theatre facility set for this year. The bill’s passage was first reported by Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The sales tax exemption would last for two years and be capped at $750,000. It passed the House by a 155–4 vote, and the legislation now goes to the State Senate for consideration.
At the end of this season, the Alliance Theatre’s performance space at the Woodruff Arts Center will shutter and an estimated $22 million overhaul will begin. The Alliance will perform its 2017–18 season at venues across the city, and the new theater space will open for the 2018–19 season, the Alliance’s 50th anniversary.
“[The space] will be a far more intimate relationship to the work, and a far more dynamic relationship from the audience to the work and the members of the audience to one another,” Susan Booth, the Alliance’s artistic director, told ArtsATL last year.
Randy Donaldson, the spokesman for the Woodruff Arts Center, said it’s too early to make assumptions about the legislation because it still faces a vote in the State Senate. “If it is enacted, the legislation caps any sales tax exemption at $750,000,” Donaldson told ArtsATL. “We would expect to be significantly below that for the Alliance project. But I can’t be specific about exactly how far below because, as with any construction project, it’s hard to predict the final costs precisely. Finally, there are no plans for any other arts center renovation projects that this bill would impact.”