Thursday, March 22, 2012

SAA Bulletin

2012 - 2013 Provincial Budget

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March 21, 2012

Arts Asked to do More with Less

Today, Honourable Ken Krawetz, Minister of Finance, delivered the 2012 – 2013 Provincial Budget – Keeping the Saskatchewan Advantage. However, keeping the advantage will be hard for the artists, arts organizations and the cultural/creative industries given the budget delivered today. Culture spending in the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport is down $247,000 while overall Government spending is up about $0.5 billion (4.7%).

The film sector has been hit hardest with the termination of the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit Program – as of April 1, 2012 the program is no longer accepting registrations. This makes Saskatchewan the only province without a tax credit program; its elimination will have a severe impact on the film industry and the artists who work in the industry. (For more information see the SMPIA media release.)

The Saskatchewan Arts Board allocation remains frozen at $6.433 million. Taking into account increases to the cost of living, this amounts to a decrease. In proportion to overall Government budget expenditures, the Arts Board allocation has dropped to .057%, the lowest level in over 25 years. This puts significant pressure on the arts sector to meet its increasing obligations and stifles growth. While the Saskatchewan Government boasts of attracting investors and newcomers, and with the Saskatchewan economy hitting new records, why does funding for the Arts Board – the cornerstone of arts activity in the province – fail to keep up with the increase of overall Government spending?

Support for Provincial Cultural Organizations remains at the same level. Last year, this line item included support for the Culture on the Go program and the creative industries program, both administered by the Arts Board. However, both programs are under review and so it is unclear what expenses will be included in the line item.

The one bit of good news announced earlier this year, the Active Families Benefit program is expanded to include all children, 0 to 18 years of age. The plan is a fully-refundable tax benefit of up to $150 per child.

The Saskatchewan public are active participants in the arts. The recent Hill Strategies Statistical Insights report shows that all Saskatchewanians 15 or older (99.8%) participated in at least one of the 18 arts, culture or heritage activities, an increase over the past 18 years. It’s time for Government to place the same priority on the arts sector as the Saskatchewan public does.

Following are excerpts from the Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport Estimates. Links to the budget documents can be found at Ministry of Finance.

Estimates

2012-13 Arts Related Estimates with Comparison to 2011-12 Estimates (in thousands of dollars) Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport 2012-13 2011-12 Increase (Decrease) Culture     Culture Operations Support 993 1,240 (247) Saskatchewan Arts Board 6,433 6,433 0 Support for Prov. Arts and Cultural Organizations 3,351 3,351 0 SaskFILM 1,199 1,199 0 Film Employment Tax Credit 5,200 8,200 (3,000) Active Families Benefit 12,000 9,000 3,000 Heritage     Heritage Operations Support 1,019 866 153 Royal Saskatchewan Museum 2,151 2,258 (107) Western Development Museum 4,059 4,059 0 Wanuskewin Heritage Park 611 611 0 Saskatchewan Science Centre 587 587 0 Saskatchewan Heritage Foundation 504 504 0 Community Initiatives Fund 9,288 9,474 (186) Other     Building Communities Fund 2,825 5,692 (2,867)