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Protest planned against Irwin’s proposed amusement tax

August 14, 2018 GMT

Irwin officials have postponed a vote planned for Wednesday on implementing a 5 percent amusement tax on tickets sold at entertainment venues, but an opposition effort continues.

A protest -- planned before the vote was delayed -- is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday in front of The Lamp Theatre on Main Street. It has been publicized on a Facebook page created by someone posting under the name Catherine de’Vigri, a 15th century Italian nun and painter who is the patron saint of artists. She also is known as Saint Catherine of Bologna.

“Taxing non-profit arts centers is a precarious path for the government to start going down,” the person posing as de’Vigri posted on Facebook. “Arts are for filling souls not coffers!”

The writer urged people “to bring your instrument of choice and fill the streets of Irwin with art to remind council members exactly what we’re trying to protect.” He or she also urged people to attend Wednesday’s meeting to voice their opposition to the proposal.

The borough postponed a vote in order run a legal advertisement in a newspaper for three consecutive weeks because the ordinance would levy a tax, said Zachary Kansler, borough solicitor. Council could vote on the proposal at its September meeting, Kansler said.

Money from the tax would be used to cover maintenance costs for the Lamp Theatre, borough officials have said. The borough owns the building. The Lamp Theatre Corp. board operates the nonprofit theater.

The proposed tax would not be levied on non-profits, such as churches or school groups, that charge for entertainment, based on discussions at council’s voting meeting in July.

The Irwin Business & Professional Association, comprised of business owners, has not taken a position and did not discuss the matter at its meeting last week.