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Arts Advocates Worry About Stadium Bill

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Advocates for the arts in Missouri will be watching a state house committee meeting closely today (Monday).

The House Special Committee on Urban Issues will consider a bill that would divert $20 million in taxes to fund sports stadiums. The taxes would come from out-of-state athletes and entertainers who appear in Missouri.

But arts lobbyist Kyna Iman is concerned that other amendments to the bill could be introduced today that may cut into arts funding.

"The chairman of the committee is Ted Hoskins and he actually has an amendment that would remove all 24% of the proposed funding for the Missouri cultural trust fund and instead divert that money into an African-American cultural trust," Iman says.

"There were several amendments that were circulated prior to their hearing, that was postponed, that would pretty much devastate the Missouri Arts Council. It would take all of our funding out of the athlete and entertainer tax, the way it is now."

The Governor has proposed $3.5 million for the Missouri Arts Council for the next fiscal year. This bill would go into effect in 2007.

Rep. Hoskins, a Democrat from St. Louis County, did not return phone calls for this story. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, was also unavailable.