Saturday, April 11, 2015

Governments Do More Harm Than Good

Are you fucking kidding me?
First of all, the tax credit is gone for the Nova Scotia film industry, an industry that created jobs and employed people and brought money -- and taxes! -- into the provincial coffers. N matter how the premier spins the "Now it's a proper tax credit" angle, the credit helped the industry far more than it cost the government.
An industry that has been growing for the past twenty years, that people have been working slowly but surely to build and nurture and grow has just had the rug pulled out from under them.Is it because it is a creative industry? Because it's entrepreneurial? Of course because we are dealing with government which can't seem to help but operate in a counter-intuitive way. If those are the areas where we SHOULD be providing tax credits and incentives so that creative people of all kinds don't leave this province, then that's where the government bureaucrats -- not known for their creativity or risk-taking spirit -- will cut.
Because it's an industry that is spread out, the bureaucrats see "tax credit" and think they can pull a fast one. They think no one will care because it's a small, creative, niche industry. It's not a mill in a town. Handing millions of dollars over to one company in order to keep a town alive by putting a hundred or so people to work is all about votes. But more than 2,000 film industry jobs spread around the province (granted, a small area of the province, not here in Cumberland County, of course) means you can't campaign on "saving jobs and a town in rural Nova Scotia".
And speaking of rural Nova Scotia:
Second of all, the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism is now -- wait for it -- the Business Department.
I don't even know what to say about that. In a province that needs to revitalize rural Nova Scotia, that needs to encourage young entrepreneurs in agriculture, creative industries and small business, more needed to be done to make rural Nova Scotia a place to live and do business.
I figured a tax credit on our gas might be nice since we have to drive everywhere in order to do business. So naive! A tax credit? To encourage local spending and small-business in rural areas? The bureaucrats' heads would explode even at the suggestions.
Instead, let's just take the rural out of the province completely. If we don't see the word, it doesn't exit! Now those pesky people can cease to exist. Yee haw! Now we can get back to focusing on...
...what the hell is the province's plan, anyway?
Oh, right. Pandering to big business. Giving payroll rebates and tax credits to profitable, billion-dollar companies whose owners are millionaires with private jets and homes in Hawaii. If a large, profitable company that employs locals in its factory threatens to close up shop and move out of the province if they don't get financial support from the government -- or threatens to take its toys and go home if it doesn't get its way -- the government caves because it wants to save jobs at one company in one town.
That's wrong. On the part of the company, it may be good for business but it's bad business. It's unethical to hold taxpayers hostage when you are making money. So government ends up counter-intuitive AND spineless.
A "Department of Business" will focus on promoting business interests, not programs and funding. So if you live in rural Nova Scotia and want to start a business or remain living there, or if you've been thinking about moving there because of the space and the recreation and the lack of traffic, you won't be able to work here. Because there is no longer a department promoting the economic growth of rural Nova Scotia.
I'm not surprised by either of these decisions, though. Whenever the call is to encourage the creative and entrepreneurial classes, in rural or urban areas, the government cocks its head to one said and says, "Wha?" Governments, of any party, do status quo; they don't do creative.
And here's the thing: The current government said in the election campaign that got them elected that they would extend the film tax credit until 2020.
The film industry is gone. Rural Nova Scotia ceases to exist. Those schools fighting to survive don't stand a chance because this is what they are up against. Governments don't want creative solutions; they want the traditional business model.
Gather up the pitchforks, my friends. It's time for a rural uprising.

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