Visitors to Denver owe thanks to the forward thinking voters in 1988 who approved a one-tenth of one percent sales tax increase to support scientific and cultural facilities within the metro area. The SCFD (Scientific & Cultural Facilities District) was created to provide funding to scientific and cultural organizations. The results have been bountiful.
Last year Denver's expanding culture scene received a HUGE gain to the economy. As per data compiled by Deloitte Consulting that amount was $1.400,000,000 (yes $1.4 BILLION)!
The Rocky Mountain News article of 10-26-2006 indicated 14 million people spent $785 million on everything including tickets, parking and baby sitters.
The 14 million visitors to cultural events outnumber the 4.5 million who attend professional sporting events! The lure of culture has a great impact beyond the venue, people end up spending money on their way to an event, while they are there and then on the way home.
Since 1988 6,300 jobs have been created, bringing the industry job total to 10,800 people. Cultural jobs combined lead Denver's top employers; Lockheed Martin (7,700), HealthOne (7,900), Wal-Mart (7,900), King Soopers (8,600) and Qwest (9,500).
Recipient organizations of the SCFD are divided into three tiers. Tier I includes the Denver Art Museum , the Denver Botanic Gardens , the Denver Museum of Nature and Science , the Denver Zoo , and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Tier II includes 25 regional organizations. Tier III has more than 280 local organizations such as orchestras, small theaters, art centers and natural history, cultural history and community groups.
The SCFD tax is a "sale and use tax", almost 2.4 million visitors defray the cost by spending their millions of dollars on tourism.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! Cultural events have attracted over 14 million people, twice the population of Colorado in 2005. The arts and sciences are an important part of our culture, having strong support helps it grow and puts Colorado and the Denver region in the limelight of the world.
To Quote the SCFD website, "It is a remarkable form of self-investment that pays incredible dividends for Colorado."