This is a reminder to all chapters and affiliates subject to the payment of Convention Tax that the rate in 2016-17 increases from $100.00 to $130.00 per reporting period. This will be reflected on chapter personnel reports beginning this fall.
For those who may be new to office, the delegates of the National Assembly at the 55th National Convention in July, 2015, approved an increase in the Convention Tax from $160.00 per year ($80.00 per reporting period) to $320.00 per year ($160.00 per reporting period). The increase was the first adjustment to this rate, which had never kept pace with inflation, in many years. Convention Tax provides funding to support the costs of delegate expenses for the National Convention.
In order to allow chapters time to adjust to the increase, the delegates approved a plan which phased in the increase over three years, rather than applying the total increase at the beginning of the triennium.
Please refer to the National Constitution and Bylaws, Title I, Article X, Section 4, and the footnote explaining the phased increase which appears below on page 15 of the 2015 Revision.
The History of Convention Tax and Background Information on the Adjustment.
Convention Tax was established by an act of the National Convention in 1924, and initially set at $25.00 per chapter per reporting period. The intent was to cover round-trip train fare, meals and lodging for each delegate. Had the rate simply been adjusted for inflation over the succeeding years, the rate would have been $339.32 per reporting period, or $678.64 per chapter per year in 2015 dollars. The rate would be slightly higher in 2016 dollars, adjusted to $341.80 per chapter per reporting period, or $683.60 per year.
The Fraternity has subsidized the costs of National Convention from operating revenues, primarily comprised of per capita taxes, since the mid-1950s. The NEC did not feel that the rate should be increased to the full value of the 1924 tax, but desired to reduce the draw against operating revenues and to restore adequate funding to the Convention Tax account.
The predominant mode of travel today is air travel, and hotel rates have increased steadily, along with meal costs, to reflect the rate of inflation. The rate is not as high as it appears initially, when the costs it was intended to cover are taken into consideration. Average round-trip airfare costs today range from $500.00 to $800.00, and many of our delegates do not originate or terminate flights from primary airports, which increases the cost. Average hotel room rates exceed $100 per room per night, and bear significantly higher taxes than they did in 1924.
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America continues to offer among the lowest costs of membership in the fraternity world, and the National Executive Committee is dedicated to providing significant value for each dollar required. Per capita taxes have not increased since 2009, and Sinfonia offers liability insurance protection to its chapters at a significantly lower cost per member than other similar organizations.
While cost increases are necessary from time to time to react to increased costs of operation and preserve financial stability for the organization, Sinfonia continues to maintain a strong value-to-cost ratio for its members. The majority of all dollars raised from taxes and fees are returned to the members in form of direct program support, and the amount invested in chapter programs has increased steadily since 2009.