(April 6) – Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst earned unanimous approval from the Finance Committee this afternoon for her bill to ask voters in November to reauthorize and improve the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
“This bill allows the continuation of the SCFD for 12 years and redistributes the money so that the smaller organizations see a significant increase in funding,” said Speaker Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, who sponsored the bill with Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton. “These organizations play a critical role to meet the needs of our growing seven-county metropolitan area. A diverse and vibrant arts and cultural community is essential for Coloradans and good for the economy as well.”
SB16-016 asks voters to continue the 0.1 percent sales tax for the SCFD through 2030 and makes several changes to the funding formula for SCFD recipients by increasing funding to smaller organizations categorized as Tier 2 and Tier 3 recipients.
The SCFD was approved by voters in 1988 to provide funding for art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history, and cultural history organizations in the Denver metropolitan area through a 0.1 percent sales tax. The SCFD tax was approved twice more by voters in 1994 and 2004. Approximately $40 million is distributed to these facilities annually and makes a profound impact on the metro area.
The result of a four-year stakeholder process, this bill is proceeding un-amended. The Board of the SCFD agreed recently to create a new cultural inclusivity fund supported by the larger institutions to support smaller organizations that serve traditionally underserved communities including racial and ethnic minorities, people with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly, veterans, the GLBTQ community, low income communities and geographically underserved areas.
The vote sends the bill to the House floor for second reading.