Value of new film tax credit scrutinized
While Saskatchewan's old film tax credit program was an $8-million subsidy, it turns out the new program would have been worth only $300,000 if it had been applied last year.
That figure, supplied by the provincial government, is considerably lower than the $1 million program discussed by Culture Minister Bill Hutchinson last week.
"Well, that's a fairly low number obviously and there's lots of room for growth," Hutchinson said.
But Hutchinson says that's just what this new plan will do — dramatically increase the profits Saskatchewan film companies make.
However Saskatchewan filmmakers say the minister's 25 per cent non-refundable tax credit on production expenses is woefully inadequate.
Without a better subsidy, film and TV companies and workers will abandon the province, they say.
Hutchinson, who says his new credit was based on an industry proposal, defends what he's doing but says he understands their resistance to the change.
We are actually asking them to embrace a new business model," he said. "There's no question — and I do understand — there's going to be some hesitancy."
In the legislature on Tuesday, NDP critic Danielle Chartier spent part of Question Period going after Hutchinson about the change and asking how many companies would qualify for the subsidy.
"People in the film industry have not minced words," she said.
"They believe the government’s new non-refundable tax credit will do nothing except lead to the industry’s demise in our province. And yet this minister is optimistic that it’s all going to just be fine."
Hutchinson says the NDP's pessimism will not save the film industry, but his plan might.