Arts and Economic Vitality in Boulder

by Louis Rosner, Economic Development Analyst



In economics, analysts, theorists, and students often overlook what truly drives an economy. While economic activity can be represented by supply and demand graphs or neatly summarized by the sum of consumption, investment, and government spending, these models tell an incomplete story. The places where people spend money and the factors that attract businesses to invest are strongly influenced by the incalculable and intangible arts and culture scene. This scene is the heart of a community which is supported by its economic structure. While a thriving job market, advanced industries, and a robust startup scene are important for economic growth, they lose their significance without places for people to socialize, have fun, and develop connections. Work is just one part of the “live, work, play” equation.
Encouragingly, voters in Boulder have shown their commitment to supporting the arts. Amendment 2A, a proposal to continue (originally approved in 2003) the existing 0.15% city sales and use tax to support the arts, has overwhelmingly passed, with nearly 75% of counted votes in favor. The tax is estimated to generate over $7 million in revenue in 2024 (per the Daily Camera).


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