Local News

Moviegoers, theater owners debate proposed tax

Posted July 12, 2009 10:23 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2009 5:27 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue is looking for ways to raise revenue in the coming year to erase a projected $4.6 billion deficit. Her deficit-busting plan would enact taxes on a range of services, including movie tickets.

The so-called movie tax would raise the price of tickets by approximately 40 cents.

"The prices are already enormous. A family can hardly afford to go to the movies,” moviegoer Frank Hielema said.

The owner of Mission Valley Cinemas, 2109 Avent Ferry Road in Raleigh, said he will be forced to pass on the expense to customers at his six Triangle theaters.

"All of our vendors have raised prices, added fuel charges, yet we've been able to eat all of those expenses. This (tax) is one I cannot eat,” Bill Peebles  said.

The owner started a petition asking customers to help stop the tax on movie tickets, but it hasn't been a hit with all moviegoers.

"The budget has to be balanced some way or another and movies are discretionary," Hielema said.

"That's why I'm for cigarette taxes and liquor taxes and movie taxes, although I enjoy them all," moviegoer Mary Ward said.

Perdue's plan would also enact taxes on other services such as appliance installations and repairs, courier services and cosmetic surgery; raise taxes on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack and on alcohol; lower personal and corporate income tax rates; and provide tax relief to home buyers and small-business owners.

The governor has also called for raising the state sales tax by a penny for 13 months, beginning Sept. 1.