Thursday, March 22, 2007

2007-08 Provincial Budget

SAA Bulletin - March 22, 2007

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Hon. Andrew Thomson tabled the 2007 – 2008 Provincial Budget: Making Life Better in the legislature today. In a pre-budget briefing, Culture, Youth and Recreation Minister Glenn Hagel spoke about his Department within the context of the Government key priorities: Keeping the Strong Economy Growing, Making Saskatchewan an Even Better Place for Young People, Increasing Access to Health Care for Saskatchewan Families and Seniors, and Building Highways and Infrastructure to Secure Growth.

On the positive side, government is introducing supplementary eye care benefits and enhanced drug coverage for lower income workers (which we presume includes independent contractors). A Saskatchewan First procurement policy was adopted and Sask. Property Management Corporation will allocate 0.5% of capital costs to public art in public buildings. Minister Hagel again committed to bring the Status of the Artist Amendment Act to the spring legislature. The Building Communities Program for new construction, sustainable development and rehabilitation of community-created recreational and cultural infrastructure should also offer opportunities for arts organizations.

Overall though, the budget fell far short of expectations, particularly considering that Saskatchewan is experiencing great prosperity. Given recent government initiatives such as the Music Industry Review and Status of the Artist legislation, it appeared that Government recognized the value of the sector, and understood the demands it faced in terms of both increased costs and increased expectations to meet Government priorities. However, although there are increases in some areas, none are substantial enough to address the long-term pressures facing the arts sector let alone to provide for sustainable development. The Saskatchewan Arts Board allocation is far short of its needs (about 10% of their new money will be earmarked to address this year’s collective agreement and pay equity for their own staff). The Cultural Industries Development Council is still suffering from cuts to its funding that occurred in 2004, and Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation funding is so limited it is losing ground in its efforts to save our heritage.

Although disheartened with today’s budget results, its is a step, albeit a very small one, forward and Saskatchewan Arts Alliance remains committed to work on your behalf for sustainability of the sector.

Following are excerpts from the Culture, Youth and Recreation Estimates. Links to all budget documents can be found at www.gov.sk.ca/budget0708.


Arts Related Estimates With Comparison to 2006-07 Estimates (in thousands of dollars)

Culture, Youth and Recreation Estimates 2006-07 2007-08 Central Management and Services 7,2687,751 Culture Culture Operations Support1,502 1,125 Saskatchewan Arts Board (14% increase) 5,284 6,034 SaskFILM 900 1,031 Film Employment Tax Credit 8,900 8,200 Cultural Industries Development 300 300 Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts 425 425
Heritage Heritage Operations Support 1,222 1,183 Royal Saskatchewan Museum 1,842 1,974 Western Development Museum 2,615 3,015 Wanuskewin Heritage Park 500 573 Saskatchewan Science Centre 550 550 Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation was under lotteries 275 Saskatchewan Archives Board 3,372 3,372
Policy and Youth Youth Services 337 364 Youth Employment 2,419 transferred out Lottery and Community Initiatives Stewardship 353 384 Premier’s Voluntary Sector Initiative 177 354 Community Initiatives Fund 5,774 6,125
Other Saskatchewan Communications Network 5,898 5,997 Building Communities Fund -- 40,000