Taxpayer Rip-Off of the Week: $150,000 for Actors Theatre in Kentucky

The 2006 Interior Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2361) dispensed $669.5 million this year among 737 projects. One of the lucky recipients was the Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, which received $150,000.

According to its website, the Theatre was founded in 1964 and designated as the Kentucky State Theatre in 1974. It seeks to "provide insight into the human experience through live theatre that invigorates minds and emotions….Our vision is to build a home for inspired collaboration where great art sets new standards in excellence that will shape the future of the American theatre. We seek discovery by embracing artistic spirit in everything we do. We will build a better community by bringing people together to participate in the power of collective imagination."

At an average ticket price of thirty-five dollars, visitors can choose from a wide variety of shows from the Shakespearian classic The Twelfth Night to the "laugh-out-loud" Bad Dates, featuring a single mom who "jumps back into the dating scene in quest of a man — and the perfect pair of shoes."

In order to fund these performances and many others, the Actors Theatre has begun the Next Generation of Excellence Campaign to raise $12 million for capital improvements "to ensure the vitality of Actors Theatre for the next 40 years." For $2,000 a donor can have his or her name permanently engraved on a seat plaque in the theatre’s Pamela Brown Auditorium. That gives Congress a grand total of 75 seats.

This latest taxpayer rip-off is a slap in the face to taxpayers across America. Congress’ cavalier attitude towards American tax payers is reckless and insulting. Maybe the Actors Theatre can put on a play about Congress acting responsibly and refusing to vote for pork-laden bills. At least it would be original.

Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee voted in favor of spending tax dollars on Kentucky’s Actors Theatre (Senate Roll Call Vote #210) on July 29, 2005.