Ms. Ryshpan penned a letter
CAEA Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan wrote a letter to BC's Premier Gordon Campbell about those stinking cuts to Arts & Culture. She writes:
"The budget update delivered by Minister Colin Hansenearlier this month makes no particular reference to arts and culture and certainly doesn’t explain why you see the need to cut funding by over 90%. This is a completely disproportionate share of the burden. When times are tough, we all recognize the need for restraint, but the cuts you propose are far more severe than mere fiscal prudence. Furthermore, Minister Hansen suggests that while it is expected that the B.C. economy will shrink by 2.9% in 2009, he is anticipating 1.9% growth in the next year (...) so it is unclear to us why such draconian cuts are necessary in our sector."Indeed. Although I didn't realize that the government had acutally forcast growth in 2010. Brutal.
Now, even if the government's economic prediction pans out (which is not certain), it doesn't necessarily follow that the government's revenues will increase along with the economy. This is because corporations can wait up to five years to write off losses in their tax returns. This is why governments still must budget deficits even after the economy grows after a recession.
Nevertheless, the point is moot because these cuts were not about the money. The relatively small amount of money the government saves by virtually eliminating its Arts & Culture budget barely makes a dent in its projected deficits. It's just too little money to make a difference.
And, Ms. Ryshpan recognizes this:
"Every other government in Canada is looking at the Creative Economy as a way to revive dying industrial and resource-based economies, and the arts are a driving force in that new landscape. At a time when your government is investing tens of millions of dollars in other industries, the cuts in arts funding represents a tiny percentage of your overall expenditures and yet means so very much to our industry. (emphasis mine) I would ask that your government explain to the thousands and thousands of artists in the province why their jobs are not important but other people’s are."More to the point: how can the BC government justify gutting an entire industry for the sake of political image?
You can read Ms. Ryshpan's letter in full here.