The House of Representatives has passed a bill taxing the gate receipts of all exhibitions of sport ten percent. College football, the only amateur sport rich in revenue, is expected to yield about two and a half million dollars. Nothing could demonstrate better how subtly the burden of taxes may shift, defeating the intentions of the legislators and the theory underlying the tax.
Amusement taxes such as this are intended to strike, not productive activities, but the excess income used for recreation. They are meant to increase the cost of luxuries while leaving money oarmarked for necessities inviolate. This tax, however, will pinch college activities which are now regarded as necessary to the health and welfare of the students. Football is the support of all other college sports, for it is the only one which draws crowds large enough to pay. If the new tax is passed by the Senate, the revenues from football will inevitably decrease. It would be unwise to make up the deficit by on increase in the cost of participation in sports. Accordingly, to suport the facilities for exercise, the income of athletics would have to be increased by money which would otherwise be devoted to strictly academic uses.
The new bill places an unfair burden on college athletic budgets. It is intended to tax luxuries, but it taxes what has become a necessity. When the Senate considers the bill, it should, with due regard for the immunity of educational institutions from taxation, make some amendment allowing college sports to go untaxed.