Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Yes to Infrastructure, But Why Not a Tax Credit like Quebec's for Creators?

The basic idea behind the Harper budget infrastructure plan is good—heaven knows we need to replace roads, bridges and add better rail and commuter links—but it would have been a lot better if the $3 billion earmarked for tax cuts was in large part added to the infrastructure program. We’d get a whole lot more bang to our buck in terms of stimulus as well as have something to show or it ten years from now. Don’t forget how much we are still profiting from the stimulus programs of the 1930s: the network of trails in US National Parks owe much to them as do such disparate wonders as the Jardin botanique in Montreal and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. (If you’d like to see just how that worked, see my book Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens, by the way.)

But while some of the money seems earmarked for cultural facilities and festivals, there appears to be nary a sou for increased support for creators either through the Canada Council for the Arts or programs to market Canadian culture abroad. That’s pretty short sighted when (as the Harper minions have begun to admit) culture makes up a large sector of the economy.

If the Conservatives had really cared about culture and still wanted to stick to their ideology of tax cuts, they could at least have extended the tax credit Quebec give to creators for income that comes from royalties. The first $30,000 of royalty income is tax free, but the benefit diminishes on a sliding scale until it disappears at $60,000. It’s been in place here for since 1995, helps out people who really aren’t making much, and without a doubt encourages cultural creation. To see how it works, go to line 297 in the Revenue Quebec work charts.

1 comment:

jschrode42 said...

Excellent point on the arts. You can't completely ignore an industry that produces revenues that are exponentially higher than the funding given to them.

There should be more sustainable infrastructure/environmental measures as well.