No significant increases for arts sector in budget
The stars of CBC’s “Republic of Doyle.” Funding for arts will be decreased due to the recent budget cuts. — Submitted photo
Provincial Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy didn’t mention the word “arts” in his speech Tuesday, but the sector didn’t go ignored in the 2013 budget.
The government made little contribution to arts, culture and tourism in the province this time around, with spending estimates on par with or below last year’s budget.
Money for The Rooms was cut significantly. The amount budgeted to the provincial corporation — which provides for the acquisition, conservation and preservation of art as well as artifacts and archival records — was about $7 million in 2012; it will be $5.95 million this year.
Funding for the province’s Arts and Culture Centres was also reduced, from $2.36 million last year to $2.2 million.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, which provides grants to local visual and performing artists and arts organizations, saw its funding remain static at $2.1 million.
The maximum amount for the Film and Video Tax Credit was increased from $3 million to $4 million, to encourage the continued development of the local film production industry, the government said in a news release.
“The refundable corporate income tax credit is provided to eligible local film projects at a rate of 40 per cent of eligible local labour costs, but may not exceed 25 per cent of production costs,” the release explained.
This means a continued investment in the TV series “Republic of Doyle,” which a post from the province on Twitter later Tuesday afternoon said would “further strengthen our film sector.”
It’s an equity investment based on other funding sources, into a program that triggers about
$22 million in production activity each season. Any film or TV production in Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled to the same type of funding.
"Government invests between 25 to 27 per cent of the budget for "Republic of Doyle", which in turn leverages 73 to 75 per cent funding from outside the province," Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corp. executive director and film commissioner Chris Bonnell told The Telegram via email.
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"This is film- and television-specific money that is not earmarked for Newfoundland and Labrador and is competed for on a national and international basis. Without government's investment, this money would go to another jurisdiction."
Funding for culture and heritage saw a minimal decrease when it comes to the management and development of historic sites and archeology programs. Last year’s budget allotted roughly $6.5 million in that area; this year, $6.1 million was announced. Money for tourism marketing, to promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a tourist destination both to residents and non-residents, was cut significantly, going from $15.56 million to $11.4 million.
Fees for provincial historic sites will be increased as of May 18. The current $3 single admission price for adults will double, while a family pass (for two adults and two youth) will jump from $5 to $15. Single tickets for children will be $3, while seniors and students will pay $4.
Tourism, culture and recreation workers didn’t all escape the province’s public service layoffs, with 27 of 377 employees losing their jobs.
Another six vacant positions were eliminated. Some of the laid-off employees received their notices earlier this month, while the rest were reportedly told late Wednesday afternoon.
This article has been changed to update incorrect information that was provided to The Telegram.