Nova Scotia Budget – Ugh… I hate getting political.

The Place: Nova Scotia

The Treasure: Film and Tourism

 

I want to get this out of the way – I hate getting political on Nova Scotia Treasures. This blog is to promote our love and enjoyment of the province…

 

However…

 

Recently the government of Nova Scotia tabled a budget that has, in my opinion, two huge mistakes in terms of impact on our province and how our province is perceived.

The first thing that’s getting the most press, and rightfully so, is the film tax credit cut.  In a nutshell, the gov gives tax credits amounting to 24 million to stimulate, support and draw film productions to Nova Scotia – and it’s been working. By their own numbers it bring back about 68 million in spin off and direct results. By some numbers, like Screen Nova Scotia, the number is as high as 150 million.

Let’s look at it this way, even if the government gave 24 million in tax credits and receive NO money directly back in taxes they still are getting (using the low number, theirs) 68 million in spin off. That money comes from inside and outside the province but is SPENT here. Let’s think of it as a business (novel way to run a government, I know): R&D spends 24 million, makes a product that benefits the entire company to the tune of 68 million. Do you then decide R&D is spending too much and kill it, losing that 68 million benefit? Heck. No.  That’s effectively what they’ve done in cutting the credit.

I can, in no way, make this make sense. I wonder if the government really has looked at the overall impact on giving 24 million in tax credit versus not. If they’ve taken in to account the number of people that will leave the province, taking with them, first and foremost, their expertise and second to all that their money they would spend simply living here – and paying taxes. I wonder if the government sat down and said, “If X amount of people leave we lose X amount of money” and applied that to the film industry.

There’s been plenty said and said better by a great number of people, I’ll leave that bit alone other than to say how it impacts tourism plus the cuts to tourism and parks.

Haven is a great show and has been very very VERY good for tourism for the south shore. Trailer Park Boys has regular visitors to the areas they film. Book of Negroes will draw people to filming locations in Nova Scotia, such as Fortress of Louisbourg . The list goes on. I question weather the government has factored in tourists that are drawn by the film industry to the province and the economic spin off it brings.

In 2009 the government (different party, same results) killed the CAT ferry because it was costing costing too much. I won’t touch on the fiasco that is the Nova Star, but the cancelling of the CAT devastated the Yarmouth area in terms of tourism. I talked to restaurant workers as far as Mahone Bay that said business was down because people coming off the CAT going to Halifax would stop to see the area and eat.

This is a prime example of short-sightedness and apparently lack of awareness that seems to happen way too often with our government. It’s governing with blinders on. Cancelling a program that brings money in because it costs money.

 

Anyway, back to tourism.

 

The government of Nova Soctia constantly touts and promotes us as a tourist destination which we should absolutely be. When the dollar was at par it was much tougher and more money was put in to trying to get people to come here.

Now the dollar is weak again and many tourists are looking to Nova Scotia as a place to go – what to do.. what… to.. do…

I know, close the Digby and Pictou visitor information centers, make seven camping group parks self-use only (who cleans up when they get trashed, that’ll cost us), eliminate the department of economic and rural development and tourism.

But create a department of business that will “focus on conditions for economic growth, rather than direct business support.”

Direct business support is what’s desperately needed in Nova Scotia – the government, I believe,  fails to understand that.

You can not promote Nova Scotia as a tourist destination when you’ve eliminated tourism draws and support.

Now more than in recent times Nova Scotia should be doing all it can to take advantage of a weaker dollar  to draw people in – they should be spending MORE on tourism, centers, and yes, film and tv. I question whether the government has factored in lost revenue over the coming years.

It’s a golden opportunity and the government is killing the goose.

Finally: Release a complete and comprehensive list of ALL benefits you receive. From tax exemptions to housing allowances, vehicles to meal expenses to pension benefits. Everything. Let’s stack that up against what the people you represent get, well, the ones that still have jobs. Let’s bring what you get in line with what the average Nova Scotian gets. Lets really see what kind of returns you give us on our dollar (such as the 6$ to 1$ pension benefit).

Whew, this was a long article based on just two things the government has made more difficult or impossible. Imagine if I’d gotten in things like the Turkey Board Market making it harder to buy/support local and so on…

We really just need you to make things easier, not harder, government of Nova Scotia – as our representatives.

Do a better job.

Hear about the fantastic people, places and things you can find in Nova Scotia from people who love their home.

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