Chamber says cutting film tax credit was a mistake
Saskatchewan's business leaders say the Saskatchewan Party government made a mistake when it cut the film tax credit.
The province's Chamber of Commerce partnered with SaskFilm to study the film tax credit. The study says the province cut the film tax credit without the proper facts.
It found the net cost to taxpayers was much lower than the government said -- at just over $1 million per year. The net economic benefit is $44.5 million.
Steve McLellan, CEO of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber is focused on ensuring the responsible use of public funds.
"In this case, it is very clear that the process used by the province to cut this program had many flaws," McLellan said.
"Key facts were missing and no consultations were done before the announcement of what some thought would be a simple program cut."
He said the decision showed the provincial government lacked "sector-specific knowledge" and transparency.
McLellan said the chamber would have approved spending $1 million per year in return for the 850 jobs it supported.
"The decision affected real people and real businesses, whose commitment to growing the film sector was shattered as the lifeline to this industry was cut," McLellan said. "The film sector as part of Saskatchewan's creative industries should play a prominent role in the future of Saskatchewan business."
McLellan also said the way the government announced the cut was a significant problem.
"There's better ways to do it -- but you don't kick them out at the knees in order to make better decisions," McLellan said. "That just takes everybody and throws them into a tizzy which of course is what we saw."
McLellan admitted it is unusual for the Chamber to have such harsh criticisms for the current government.
The government has said it will not reinstate the film tax credit.