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Downing Advances Artist Enterprise Zone Legislation
March 31, 2010

Bill creates pilot program promoting economic activity by artists
in Pittsfield, Fitchburg and Lowell
Boston – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces today that the Joint Committee on Revenue released S. 1866, An Act Establishing Pilot Artist Enterprise Zones with a favorable recommendation.
Downing, who chairs the Revenue Committee, worked with his colleagues on the panel to secure this affirmative report.   He is also the chief sponsor of the legislation, which enjoys strong support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and state and local officials representing Pittsfield, Fitchburg and Lowell. 
The legislation establishes a pilot program during tax years 2013 and 2014 to promote artistic development in the downtown areas of Pittsfield, Fitchburg and Lowell. The cities will be tasked with defining an artist enterprise zone within their downtown neighborhoods by October 1, 2012. Artists who choose to relocate and/or remain in these communities will enjoy tax exemption status for the sale of their artwork within the designated artist enterprise zones. The state sales tax exemption will be granted to those artists who sell their artwork on location and satisfy additional requirements as defined by the state Department of Revenue. 
“I see this bill as an economic and social stimulus for Pittsfield,” said Downing. “By enticing artists to set up shop downtown we’ll spur economic activity and enhance the social fabric of our communities.”
“Providing low cost incentives to encourage the economic success of artists in our communities will help ensure the continued growth of a diverse, creative and attractive downtown in Pittsfield,” said Mayor James M. Ruberto. “We are honored to be included as one of the three communities chosen for this innovative new pilot program that builds on the strength of the creative economy in Berkshire County and the Commonwealth.”
The legislation will now go before the House Committee on Ways and Means for further consideration. Additionally, Downing is considering attaching it as an amendment to other legislative vehicles, such as the FY 2011 budget, to continue the focus and momentum of the proposal.


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