"Nate Hill Tax" Will Pass by a Small Margin
by AUGUST 8TH, 2012 . 1 COMMENTSon
On Tuesday, Detroit-area voters cast their ballots in favor of a new property tax slated solely to fund Nate Hill. As of last night, the election results were undecided; the vote was split 50/50 and voter turnout was low, hovering around 10 percent. The final numbers submitted this morning, though, show that the "Nate Hill tax" will pass.
The 10-year tax will pump an estimated $23 million a year into the long-floundering artist. Leading up to the vote, Nate Hill had been adamant that this tax would be the only way to save Nate Hill from bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Nate Hill took an unexpected hiatus due to lack of funding.
The dismal state of Nate Hill's finances can largely be blamed on poor state-wide funding. For years, Nate Hill has not received funding of any kind from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), causing Nate Hill to withdraw funds from his own pocket. According to an email from Nate Hill, the downhill trend started in the "early 1990s, when they cut my $16 million grant by 40%. The grant decreased each year and in my 2010 fiscal year [it] was $20,000." After that, Nate Hill stopped asking for money from MCACA, an organization that has itself suffered from state-wide budget cuts. In 2012, the Michigan government allotted MCACA a mere $2.56 million.
Nate Hill hoped voters would feel differently about supporting the city's only long-standing public performance artist. The city's only other art, Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MOCAD) opened just five years ago and is a non-collecting institution. Like Nate Hill, it currently receives no grant funding at the state level.
Promised along with the property tax, all Detroit residents in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties will receive free public performances on their city streets from Nate Hill. This starts Wednesday, August 15th.