Local News

Movie Ticket Prices Would Increase If N.C. House Budget Proposal Approved

Posted June 18, 2005 11:27 a.m. EDT

— A night at the movies could soon take a bigger chunk of your wallet if some state lawmakers get their way.

The N.C. House budget includes a provision that would raise the tax on movie tickets.

Some lawmakers want to bump the taxes on movie tickets from 1 percent to 7 percent. That would add another 50 cents or so to a ticket.

For some families, a trip to the movies is already a taxing privilege.

"When we come in the evening, it's about thirty-six dollars for us to get in," Liz Parry said. "It's a lot of money."

That's just for the movie tickets, Parry said, and doesn't include money spent on candy, popcorn and drinks.

A proposed tax hike on candy would jump from 2 percent to 7 percent as well, if lawmakers approve a 7 percent sales tax across the board.

If lawmakers approved the sales tax increase, North Carolina would join a Streamline Sales Tax Initiative that includes about 20 other states in the nation.

The states would split millions of dollars currently being lost to online and bulk purchases.

As for the revenue generated by this tax proposal, WRAL has learned that it would go to a general fund to pay for Medicaid, public schools and other state funded programs.

"Attendance at movie theaters has been down the past few months," said Graham Wilson, the S.C./N.C. National Theater Owners' spokesman.

With attendance numbers dropping, he said, theater owners don't want to give movie-goers another reason to wait for DVD releases.

"Any increase would be past on to the patrons," Wilson said. "That means ticket prices would go up and the concession would go up."

Wilson said independent movie theaters would take a hit as well.

Of course, lawmakers said, the tax increase isn't a done deal.

Lawmakers are currently working on finalizing the budget, and this proposal could end up on the cutting room floor.