Further to my letter in the May 3-16 prairie dog, the decision to cut the film employment tax credit makes no sense [“Failed Negotiations”; May17-30]. Crippling the industry goes against the government’s supposed policy of wanting to create innovative jobs, be a leading province in Canada, be competitive on the world stage, and encourage young people to stay or return to Saskatchewan.
One of the most discouraging things is that the government has chosen to repeatedly offer the public incomplete information that’s only served to cloud the issue. When talking about the cost of the program, they always fail to mention that the $100 million that was spent over 15 years generated $623 million in economic activity. A 6:1 return on investment!
No matter how many times our premier says it, the program was NOT a grant. Take a production with a $10 million budget. That money goes directly into the economy, being spent on things like hotel accommodations, restaurants, equipment rentals, transportation, lumberyards and numerous other small businesses. Employee wages also come from that budget. These employees pay taxes on their income, and what’s left is spent on everyday things like mortgage payments, grocery bills and dance classes for their kids.
After the entire $10 million has been spent, and after final production costs have been audited, the production company submits its tax credit claim for a partial rebate on Saskatchewan labour costs. This is the industry standard in Canada, with the only exception now being Saskatchewan. This was a tax incentive program designed to drive the economy, NOT a throw-away grant.
Using their business experience, along with extensive research, representatives from the film and media industry developed a new proposal. They hoped to work with the government. Instead, the government took the proposal, changed the wording from “a refundable” to “a non-refundable” tax program and rendered it virtually useless, basically dooming the Saskatchewan film and media industry to be uncompetitive.
Where is the Saskatchewan Advantage if our government’s decisions destroy an industry, forcing families and small businesses to leave the province?
WOE IS THE STADIUM
It started as a retractable-domed stadium in the CP Rail yards (estimated 2010 cost $431 million). Then it became a domed stadium in the same area, but attached to some affordable housing and mixed-use development as part of the Regina Revitalization Initiative. Now they are talking about an open-air stadium at Evraz Place to the tune of $278 million [“A New Plan”; May 17-30.]
Funding has also been an issue. First, the city approached the federal government. It declined to become involved. Then the city said there were private investors. Now, they’ve approached the province for $230 million and have proposed a 3-4 per cent increase in property taxes that would last for 30 years, plus other increases in fees and taxes. The city also admits there are no private dollars.
I don’t think City Hall knows what they want or can afford, yet they keep going on and on about a new stadium. So let’s force a referendum. Visit urdamnright.info to download a copy of the petition, circulate, and return to me.
Please stress to people that they MUST be 18, and a Regina resident (eligible to vote under the Election Guidelines); they must also put their full address on the petition, and have a witness. City Hall’s rules, not mine.
Time for the people of Regina to stand up and say “U R Damn Right” we want a say!
Mr. Hanson — so right, so right [“The Logical Next Step”; May 17-30]. While Mr. Conway shares visionary commentary on so many important social-political happenings, he needs to think about we, the converted, who in theory get his point but who, in reality, marry ourselves to your idea of a centre-left coalition to challenge the Conservatives.
To help your cause, I urge people to read Doug Saunders’ column “What Would a Canada of 100 Million Feel Like?” in the May 18 Globe and Mail. His piece, which looks at population, immigration and the challenges of living in such a huge country, reminds us of what we could accomplish if we had a critical mass of people in our cities to support progressive policies in areas like public transit, culture, and education.
Rather than settle for a coalition on the centre-left, we need to embrace it. We are simply too watered- down to do otherwise. Thanks for the reminder Mr. Hanson.