LT. GOVERNOR PROMOTES CULTURAL DISTRICTS -- 06/16/2008
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2008
LT. GOVERNOR PROMOTES CULTURAL DISTRICTS
New opportunities for towns, cities and parishes
Baton Rouge- Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu is encouraging communities to take advantage of a new law which allows for towns, cities and parishes to become Cultural Districts, offering powerful tax incentives to grow the cultural economy.
As part of the Cultural Economy Initiative launched in 2004, Lt. Governor Landrieu championed smart tax-policy legislation in 2007 to incent local municipalities to designate "Cultural Districts" in their communities. Building on the successful models of Downtown Development Districts and the Main Street Initiative, Cultural Districts provide great tools for communities to stimulate their economies.
"Louisiana's culture is a valuable economic engine that drives businesses, attracts tourists, and provides the variety of rich experiences that makes our state a great place," said Lt. Governor Landrieu. "Our cultural economy employs 144,000 people and accounts for 7.6% of our state's employment base. These tax incentives, offered through the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, will go a long way toward revitalizing communities and rebuilding cultural destinations."
Based on national best practices, the primary goal of the Cultural Districts program is to rejuvenate communities by creating locally driven hubs of cultural activity. The program provides two primary incentives for communities. Property owners are eligible to apply for state historic tax credits for renovations to historic buildings in a Cultural District, and sales of original, one-of-a-kind works of art within the district are exempt from local and state sales tax.
Similar programs in other states report positive results. Increased building occupancy and property values, expansion of commercial activity and special events, and an improved sense of community are just some of the benefits experienced by local communities.
Local governments, Chambers of Commerce, community leaders and civic groups are eligible to apply for the Cultural Districts Program during two annual review cycles. Application deadlines are July 1 and December 1, 2008.