Budget Brings in Some Unexpected Surprises
The recently released 2022-23 Provincial Budget had some surprises for the arts and cultural community in Saskatchewan.
An additional $8 million dollars was allotted this fiscal year to the Creative Saskatchewan Production Grant Program. According to Hon. Donna Harpauer, Minister of Finance, it is hoped that the $10 million fund will attract $50 million in new investment in film and television production, as well as associated economic activity.
“SaskCulture is pleased to see the government’s investment in the film and television production in the province,” says James Ingold, chair, SaskCulture. “This commitment to building the industry will help to re-energize interest in Saskatchewan’s talent in new and creative ways.”
The Budget also included the addition of the 6% Provincial Sales Tax (PST) to admission and entertainment charges, effective October 1, 2022, for sport, culture and recreation activities. Activities that will be impacted include: admissions to concerts/shows, movie theatres, museums, zoos, historical sites, fairs, trade shows, arts and craft shows, conferences, seminars, professional theatre tickets and subscriptions, and a range of sporting and recreation activities. There will be an exemption to the PST for children’s activities, aimed at those 14 and under, offered via schools or non-profits, such as amateur theatre productions, and fundraising activities.
“The arts and cultural community is quite concerned about getting audiences back into their events, activities and venues,” says Ingold. “The timing of an additional tax on these activities will make it even harder to encourage participants, audiences and volunteers to get back to their pre-pandemic involvement in cultural activities and experiences.”
While some cultural organizations received some modest increases, SK Arts remained status quo in funding for the year. According to Daniel Parr, president of Saskatchewan Arts Alliance, “Status quo funding to organizations such as SK Arts, taking into account the rising cost of living and record-breaking inflation, amounts to a decrease that puts significant pressure on the arts sector to meet its increasing obligations and stifles growth.”