Give us a break- 20% reduction in Branson sales tax revenues caused by theatres- that’s nuts!

On July 13, in a thread in the Ole Seagull’s Forum at www. Forums ( poster BMOMAN said, “Recently there was an article in the NewsLeader that said Branson’s sales tax was down 20% for April and May. I spoke with members of the city and chamber commerce about that alarming number and found out a couple of unusual things. Restaurants and hotels were actually up. The state park had there [their] highest grossing 4th of July EVER!! but when asked how come the number was done [down] they regrettably said it was the theatres that were bringing those numbers down. Whats your thoughts?”

An Ole Seagull’s thought is, “That’s not only nuts, it’s stupid and inaccurate.” Given that scenario, how could shows alone possibly reduce Branson’s overall “sales tax” revenues by anywhere near 20%? However, in the opinion of an Ole Seagull, that’s not surprising coming from BMOMAN and those of his ilk who, to an Ole Seagull, seem hell bent on depreciating the economic value and relevance of Branson’s live shows to Branson, currently and in the future.

BMOMAN is personally unknown to the Ole Seagull except by their posts to the Forum. Based on that interaction however, an Ole Seagull would want to verify everything they said as to its accuracy prior to entering into any discussion based on those alleged facts. Is it inappropriate to ask specifically what “members of the city and chamber” BMOMAN spoke with about the 20% drop in “Branson’s sales tax” for April and May and who, “when asked how come the number was down regrettably said it was the theatres that were bringing those numbers down?”

An Ole Seagull is simply having a hard time believing that any individual in Branson City government or a position of responsibility at the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce or CVB would be so irresponsible and unprofessional as to attribute an alleged sales tax drop of “20% for April and May” to the theatres. In addition, although he doesn’t know about “April,” the May portion of BMOMAN’s little scenario and alleged discussion with officials, spelled out in his July 13th post, differs substantially from what the city of Branson said in a press release entitled, “Sales tax revenue picks up,” issued on July 11.

It said, “The city’s sales tax revenue for the month of May was up 6.9 percent, and for 2011, the sales tax is up 1 percent over last year. However the tourism tax receipts remain down.

“The city received checks from the Missouri Department of Revenue last week for sales tax spending activity in May.

“Revenues for May came in at $965,134 compared with $902, 687 in May 2010. In year to date sales tax totals, the city is tracking at a 1 percent increase over 2010 with revenues totaling $5,117,575 compared to $5,068,219 last year.

“While sales tax numbers are up, the city’s tourism tax on lodging, restaurants and ticketed attractions including theaters is down 5 percent for the year through May…”

Is there anything indicating that “Branson’s sales tax was down 20% for April and May,” the mention of the number “20%” or that “it was theatres that were bringing those numbers down.” “But Seagull, aren’t some of the theatres having a tough year?” “That might very well be, but that’s a far cry from the statement made by BMOMAN.”

The Ole Seagull is an unabashed supporter of Branson’s live shows and believes that they, along with Silver Dollar City and Table Rock Lake with the natural beauty of the Ozarks form the three legs of the tripod upon which Branson’s past and future success rests. To him, they are the primary motivators that make Branson the unique entertainment experience it is and attracts people to Branson. While they are here those people share in and enjoy everything else that Branson has to offer, but it is the unique combination of those three upon which Branson owes its success and upon which its future depends.

“But Seagull, you could be wrong.” “Absolutely, but let me ask you two questions. “Could theatre sales tax collections drop by 10% and yet the theatres still be a vital part in Branson’s economic engine” and “Is the Russell Cook involved with the race track development south of town the same Russell Cook that was involved with what the Ole Seagull calls the ‘Great Branson Dessert,’ the Tanstone project, going down ‘Forsythe Street’ from the ‘Branson Strip’ to ‘Roark Valley Road?'” “Can I reflect for a while on the first one?” “Sure.” “What does the second have to do the main topic of this column?” “Absolutely nothing at all.

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