Saratoga Springs eyes tax on concert tickets

White said that 250,000 people usually attend Live Nation events each year, meaning the city could stand to realize $500,000 in revenue.

SPAC's classical season draws smaller crowds on the order of 100,000 to 150,000, said White, and as Accounts Commissioner John Franck noted, there are rarely high profile crime situations that require extra security in the venue or city during those events.

"People who tend to listen to Mozart or listen to Swan Lake don't tend to get in fist fights," said Franck.

Earlier this summer, at a Dave Matthews Band concert, a concertgoer was charged with felony assault after allegedly pummeling another fan, sending him to the hospital.

Live Nation events are what enable SPAC to operate in the black, however. The entirety of its classical programming operates at a loss, with ticket sales generally covering only 40 percent of costs.

"There could also be the decision down to the road to tax the classical performances as well," said White. "I think it's a very dangerous precedent."

Tickets for Live Nation events are already subject to extra fees. One lawn ticket for a 'Lil Wayne concert on Wednesday, July 29, for example, is $35.75, but turns into $48.25 after Live Nation's ticket fees are added.

Frank argued that with such surcharges already existing, the city's charge shouldn't discourage fans from attending concerts.

"A dollar or two I don't think is going to make that big of a difference," he said.

John Huff, general manager at Live Nation, disagreed, saying that the charge will have a negative effect on the promoter's ability to bring big acts to SPAC.

"I think it's a significant increase to go from zero to $2, and it will have an impact," he said. "It's a tax, there's no other word for it, and unfortunately it will be passed on to the ticket buyers."

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