Following a recent change to a state law, Hartford officials will discuss whether or not to add an additional tax on tickets for events at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
During the Hartford Yard Goats‘ (Class AA; Eastern League) debut season, the city was covered by an exemption that allowed it to collect a 10% state admissions tax from events at the ballpark. Connecticut lawmakers, however, recently approved a budget bill that repealed that exemption, effectively redirecting those funds to the state.
In light of the repeal, the City of Hartford could decide to implement its own tax on events at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. If approved, a new 5% admissions tax would be put into effect, though the city has not made any decisions to this point. The plan is being discussed by a council committee, and is not expected to be considered for a vote until next month. More from The Hartford Courant:
“You can measure the success of the ballpark in a lot of ways: In the thousands of fans and families that it’s brought to Hartford … the number of sellouts and the boost to local restaurants and businesses,” [mayor Luke Bronin] said. “But as I’ve said for a number of years now, this was never going to be a financial winner for the city in the near term.”
If the council authorizes the additional tax, Hartford will receive only about $145,000 this year. Under state law, Connecticut cities and towns can impose a surcharge of up to 5 percent on admissions to entertainment or recreation venues. That surcharge is separate from the 10-percent state tax.
Individual tickets to the Yard Goats games range from $6 to $19. A 5 percent bump would push the price of the cheapest ticket to $6.30, and the most expensive ticket to $19.95.
It’s not yet clear whether the team would pass the increase along to consumers or absorb the cost. Yard Goats General Manager Tim Restall said in a statement: “The team was surprised to hear about this proposed amending ordinance and is working to have a better understanding of it.”
In the case of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the city collected $290,000 in admissions tax revenue during the ballpark’s first season, with the Yard Goats drawing a total of 395,196 fans. Dunkin’ Donuts Park, it should be noted, was not the only venue in Hartford to be affected by the law change. Also among the facilities affected was downtown’s XL Center, the current home to hockey’s Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), hockey and occasional basketball games for UConn athletics, and other events.