If Providence Mayor, Vincent "Buddy" Cianci has his way, the state of Rhode Island will pass two laws providing artists with tax breaks if they move their businesses, themselves or both to downtown Providence or "Downcity" as it is being called. One proposed law would exempt artists in the planned Downcity arts and entertainment district from paying state sales tax on their products. The other would provide each artist in the district with a his/her own personal state tax exemption. These proposals could be a boon to those who could benefit from operating in high traffic areas while reducing their operating costs.
Of course, the idea behind these proposals is not to benefit artists, but to benefit the city of Providence which has a considerable amount of unused potential living space downtown. Further, a successful arts/entertainment district will serve to draw pedestrian traffic back to downtown Providence. A goal which has been sought for many years. The benefit, though, still exists for the artists who may need a home, especially since some of the states mill buildings have either evicted them or burnt to the ground.
Beware of what happened to many artists in my native land of New York City, where many landlords in the fabled SoHo enticed the arts into their old commercial buildings and lo, the area was transformed into a funky community of the arts. Unfortunately, not long after this wondrous transformation took place the artists, who had failed to sign ironclad long-term leases, were evicted. Their apartments, which they had developed with their own sweat and ingenuity, became the domain of upwardly mobile professionals who could afford the newly raised rents. As always, the only ones who are truly looking out for your interests are yourselves. If you wish to protect your interest in your new home, your long-term lease, option to buy or whatever, GET IT IN WRITING.
First Published Version, copyright 1996 David M. Spatt
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copyright 1997 David M. Spatt, All rights reserved
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