ENTERTAINMENT FUNDING TAX
The Winnipeg arts community is widely recognized for its talent and diversity; however, it continues to be hampered by the entertainment funding tax, formerly the amusement tax. This tax, the only one of its kind levied across Canada, deters positioning Winnipeg as THE multi-cultural centre of Canadian arts, culture and entertainment.
This tax benefits few within Winnipeg’s arts community, a community that mostly represents small, not-for-profit organizations and locally run productions. Many groups pay the tax “off the top” rather than adding the tax to ticket prices.
Out-of-city organizations or local productions recognize Winnipeg as a viable and receptive location for their programs. However, the high cost and disadvantageous nature of providing entertainment here may be a deterrent.
Ultimately, this tax provides minimal economic benefit to residents of Winnipeg, marginalizes the entertainment-seeking public and serves to drive away future arts, culture and entertainment opportunities as sources of potential revenue for the City.
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Recommendations:
- Apply a tax equal to 10 per cent of the ticket price on all first-run cinema tickets, to be levied directly on film distributors, not the ticket-buying public. Allocate $1 million of this potential revenue from a cinema seat tax to the Winnipeg Arts Council.
- Adjust the tax for sporting venues (because of existing special deals with Winnipeg Enterprises Corporation, the Winnipeg Goldeyes and the True North Group) so that a seat facility tax is applied to replace the tax in business plans. Implement a sunset clause, specifying that the seat facility tax agreement will only last as long as the current agreements are in place.
- Divert the line budget item designated for the New Homeowner’s Tax Credit to arts and culture funding.
- Eliminate the entertainment funding tax, and allocate $2.5 million raised from the cinema seat tax and the New Homeowner’s Tax Credit towards the Winnipeg Arts Council.
Adopted by The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce board of directors, June 2002
ACHIEVED – 2006