As Europe faces difficult economic times, solutions to massive deficits inevitably fall on the people in the form of across the board tax hikes, called austerity measures. Spain was not spared in this instance, and a drastic increase on theater tickets has hit the country’s live theatre community.
NPR ran a story detailing the issue. In the small, north-eastern town of Bescanó, when faced with a 21% tax on theatre tickets, local theatre director Quim Marcé saw dark prospects. But when he looked around at his town, with produce farms lining the hillside, he saw a chance to get around the rules.
Marcé began selling carrots from local fields at 13 Euros a pop and giving away tickets to his shows. Carrots remain at a low 4% tax rate – a rate he thought was more fair for the services he’s providing. So far, feedback has been great, with shows, and carrots, selling out months in advance.
image via NPR
Folks buying tickets (carrots) have argued that taxing culture so high will hurt society, and the government should be supporting cultural experiences for everyone, not just those who can afford them. People have started calling Marcé’s plan ‘The Carrot Rebellion’
But local lawyers are quick to inform Marce what he is doing is tax evasion, and is illegal.
“This is called tax evasion,” says Fernandez. “I mean, we may like it because it has to do with culture, and we like people going to the theater. But this is called tax evasion.”
Though the citizens of Spain have been vocal about their opposition to theatre tax increases and many other austerity measures, its unlikely, in the eyes of the ruling political bodies, that other options will appear.