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Maybe today’s article about the estimated annual revenue from an admissions tax left you wanting more. Since the revenue would be used to pay off bonds for a baseball stadium, you want details on how the county came up with that figure, right?

In that case, here’s the full report from Adriana Prata, an analyst in Clark County’s budget office.

Estimated annual revenues from countywide admissions tax in Clark County

An initial high-level analysis of this potential revenue stream suggested that annual revenues would be approximately $1.1 million annually, if the tax were imposed countywide. This high-level estimate is based on the analysis of per capita revenues for other counties and cities in the state. The latest available year of statewide revenue data for admission tax revenues is 2009.

Five counties impose an admission tax. Of these, King County and Grant County bring in exceptionally high revenues because of their facilities and events (the King County Safeco and Qwest Fields, and the Gorge Amphitheater). The Gorge Amphitheater, which has over 20,000 seats, is one of the most scenic, premier concert locations in the US. In addition, King County levies a special admission tax of 10%, instead of 5%, for events at both the Safeco Field and Qwest Field, including the adjacent exhibition center. Therefore, unincorporated Clark County revenues from the admission tax would be most likely similar to revenues in the remaining three counties that impose the tax. In 2009, Franklin County generated $1.07 per capita, followed by Kitsap County at $0.91 and Snohomish County at $0.44 per capita. Thus, for Clark County Unincorporated, with a population of 212,910, revenues could range from $93,680 to $227,813, giving a mid-point estimate of $160,747 for unincorporated area tax collections.

Forty-seven cities imposed the tax in 2009, generating per capita revenues as high as $32.07 in Tukwila. Excluding a few outlier cities with exceptionally high revenues, the median city revenue was $4.11, and the average was $4.32. Using the median city revenue per capita for 2009 of $4.11 and the incorporated population of 222,690, the admission tax in incorporated Clark County could generate $915,256 annually.

Therefore, a countywide admission tax could bring in estimated total annual revenues of $1,076,000. In order to validate this high-level estimate, the analysis looked at specific businesses/industries that would be contributing to this revenue stream. This in-depth look suggested total annual revenues of $965,000. Please note that we were unable to obtain data from some of the smaller venues before finalizing the estimates for release (i.e. the ice arena and the Volcanoes basketball team), but the estimates would not change significantly by varying the assumptions related to these events.

Estimates by industry/venue

1) Movie theaters = $650,273
According to the Motion Picture Association of America report for US/Canada, the national average of tickets sold per person was 4.1 in 2010 (admissions per capita for population ages 2 or older), and the average admission price was $7.89, which gives:

(4.1 admissions / capita for individuals 2 years or older) * (402,036 residents in Clark County of ages 5 and older) * ($7.89 /ticket average admission price) * (.05 admissions tax) = $650,273.

Alternatively, at approx. 50 screens and average revenue per screen of $250,000:
(50 screens) * ($250,000 / revenue per screen) * (.05 admissions tax) = $625,000.

Note: movie admissions per capita have been declining regardless of economic trends during the past ten years. Even before the Great Recession, admissions per capita were only 4.4 instead of 4.1-4.2 during the recession. Therefore, we do not expect that improvement in economic conditions will result into increased attendance or revenues.

2) Amphitheater = $86,625
($50/ticket) * (5,775 attendance) * (6 events) * (.05 admissions tax) = $86,625

3) Fair = $53,069
($1,061,389 ticket revenues) * (.05 admissions tax) = $53,069

4) Washougal motor cross event = $50,000
(25,000 admissions) * ($40 average fee) * (.05 admissions tax) = $50,000

5) New baseball stadium = $47,500
(38 home games) * (2,500 average attendance) * ($10/ticket) * (.05 admissions tax) = $47,500

6) Ice Arena = $12,600
($7 admission price) * (180 days open) * (200 attendance) * (.05 admissions tax) = $12,600

7) Exhibit Hall (without fair exhibits) = $8,000
(8 shows/year) * (2 days each show) * (2,000 visitors/day) * ($5 admission) * (.05 admissions tax) = $8,000

8) Vancouver Symphony = $5,805
($27 average admission price) * (4,300 annual tickets sold) * (.05 admissions tax) = $5,805

9) Volcanoes Basketball team = $1,250
(10 home games) * (500 average attendance) * ($5 ticket price) * (.05 admissions tax) = $1,250

10) Miscellaneous: swimming pools, billiards, downtown concerts, winery events, nightclubs, etc = $50,000

Total annual revenue estimate = $965,122

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