, Newburyport, MA


August 23, 2013

Newburyport a natural for cultural district

It’s clear to anyone who comes to Newburyport that if there is any downtown in the state that is worthy of being named a Cultural District, this city has all the right qualifications.

On Wednesday, officials from the Massachusetts Cultural Council came to Newburyport to review Newburyport’s application to gain this title. There are 17 cultural districts in the state, with Gloucester and Rockport being the closest to our area.

The state Cultural Council was impressed with Newburyport, and we feel confident that the designation will be won. It will give Newburyport an advantage of sorts, particularly in attracting tourists, as the state intends to market the cultural districts to visitors and residents alike. It’s part of the state’s efforts to boost the “creative economy” in Massachusetts, certainly a worthy goal.

This was a measure that was birthed by the state Legislature about three years ago, in part to draw more tourist dollars and revenue to downtowns. It’s a good idea, but we can’t help but note that it bumps up against a particularly bad and pig-headed idea that the state’s lawmakers also inflicted on our cultural districts, as well as every other downtown, restaurant and retail establishment.

About a year before the cultural district law was passed, lawmakers increased the sales tax by 25 percent, to 6.25 percent. It was a heavy blow to businesses in our area in particular, which have to compete against New Hampshire’s “tax free” businesses. It was pitched as an emergency measure to help the state solve a looming deficit of over $1 billion.

Times have changed. Our economy has come out of its downward spiral. Unemployment has dropped and the private sector economy has improved somewhat. Most strikingly, the amount of money the state is collecting in taxes has drastically improved.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Motorcyclist Sticks Landing Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Watch Helicopter Perform Aerial Ballet Can Buckeyes fill Miller's void? Victoria's Secret Models Prove They're in Fighting Shape How Brian Hoyer Stacks Up With Johnny Manziel Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron Pathologist: Autopsy Shows Teen Repeatedly Shot
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans