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Taxing Times For Coachella Purchase

09:01 AM Monday 6/25/12 | |

A city councilman in Indio, Calif., is pushing for a ticket tax on the annual Coachella festival now that promoter Goldenvoice is considering buying the land that hosts the event.

Sam Torres wants to add $18 to every ticket, generating $4 million annually versus the $830,000 the city makes off of tickets and camping, according to the Desert Sun. The proposal has halted negotiations on the 280-acre purchase of the polo grounds and does not have the support of other council members nor others.

“It’s falling apart,” Indio Mayor Glenn Miller told the paper. “Once they purchase property, they’re here to stay. Their business isn’t polo. Their business is entertainment. I’m sure [the tax proposal] is weighing very heavily on them.”

Miller and Mayor Pro Tem Elaine Holmes fear Goldenvoice could move the event to another city, which would be glad to accept the event.

“There’s competition for this,” Holmes said. “Other venues are very eager to support this concert. We always want to be aware this could be a possibility.”

Goldenvoice VP Skip Paige refused to comment. Meanwhile, Torres wants to put the suggestion in front of taxpayers in November. He called Goldenvoice’s possible exit “saber rattling.”

“Obviously, that’s a corporate decision for them,” he said. “They’re going to go where they can make the most money. … I hate to think it’s a punishment to the city of Indio because we’re asking the question.”

  • Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

    Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.
    April 15, 2012

    (John Davisson)

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The city council is also considering a 10 percent to 12 percent increase on the Transient Occupancy Tax, which applies to hotels with less than 50 rooms. It also wants to clarify the definition of “hotel,” which could mean a Coachella campground. The TOT, introduced in April, generated an extra $328,009 for the city, according to the Desert Sun.


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