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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Michigan County Will Drop Detroit Institute of Arts Tax Fund if Collection Is Sold

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In August of 2012 voters in three Michigan counties — Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb — approved a mileage tax to support the cash-strapped Detroit Institute of Arts, in exchange for which the museum waived admission fees for residents of those counties. But now, as the bankrupt city of Detroit contemplates selling off works from DIA’s collection to settle its debts, officials in Oakland County have passed a resolution according to which any move to use the museum’s art or budget to pay the city’s creditors would nullify the county’s obligation to pay the mileage tax, the New York Times reports.

According to the terms of the resolution written by the Oakland County Art Institute Authority — which was created to coordinate the county’s payment of the mileage tax — it “continues to believe that the museum and its collections are important, irreplaceable and indivisible parts of the cultural fiber of the state and region.” However, were the city to tap DIA’s collection or budget to pay its creditors, it would “terminate any obligation” on behalf of the county to pay the tax.

Oakland County’s share of the mileage tax, combined with those collected in Wayne and Macomb counties, is expected to generate $250 million for DIA over the course of a decade, provided none of them opts out.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo © 2012, Detroit Institute of Arts.)

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