Friday, April 28, 2017

A tax credit is the right tool that will help new digital media businesses get off the ground by keeping human capital costs down and encouraging investment from both inside and outside the province. Digital media tax credits have been highly successful for our industry in provinces such as Quebec (37.5 per cent), Ontario (35 per cent), and British Columbia (17.5 per cent).----Julie Ali · University of Alberta While I like that there is a digital media industry in Alberta I don't see why we need to provide a tax credit to this industry. We've done a lot of subsidy for the oil and gas industry in Alberta and we're still doling out cash to them such as that $30 million for the orphan well program that is their own liability. The amount of subsidy to the oil and gas industry seems to be rather generous with water provided, they get their own natural gas to use and let us not forget the major remediation work that we will be stuck with because the industry won't do this work. Based on the poor record of subsidizing the oil and gas industry I don't want to do any other subsidy even if it is just a tax credit. I feel that if a company can't make it in Alberta, that's the free market and competition should decide which companies make it. I feel that it is up to the company to succeed and with the wonderful opportunity to work in Alberta while providing services remotely all over the world--there is no reason why a digital media company would not succeed. Kids coming out of the Digital media and IT program at NAIT for example can offer their services on their own websites and work remotely. If kids can do this why not companies which are making bigger profits than the kids are? The cost of doing digital media work is so much cheaper in Edmonton or Calgary than in Vancouver or Toronto. It's a fantastic opportunity for companies to work here and I'm pretty sure they would not be here if they weren't sure of succeeding. With such a positive growth environment why would the government of Alberta provide tax credits?----

While I imagine that there is a need for a tax credit, I don't want the government to do it.
We're providing generous subsidy to big oil in Alberta. The continuing care industry gets us to pay half of their infrastructure costs; then we pay for their renovations and even the AHS staff on site. What are we? The year round Santa? We have to stop. The free market is not a free market if we are doing P3 projects of the sort that is present in the continuing care system and then decreasing the tax burden of the gaming industry for the sake of developing a tech sector. If the digital media sector can't make it in Alberta then that's too bad. Our kids will go to Vancouver and Toronto for work. In any case, folks can work remotely and what's needed here is for companies to suck it up and become true free market competitive.
As a company proudly founded in Alberta, BioWare is encouraged to see the provincial government take the initiative in seeking new ideas on how to bolster the…
EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM
LikeShow more reactions
Comment
Comments


http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-albertas-digital-media-sector-needs-help-to-power-up

Opinion: Alberta's digital media sector needs help to power up

Published on: April 27, 2017 | Last Updated: April 27, 2017 6:00 AM MDT
Aaryn Flynn, general manager of BioWare. File photo.
Aaryn Flynn, general manager of BioWare. File photo. GREG SOUTHAM / EDMONTON JOURNAL
As a company proudly founded in Alberta, BioWare is encouraged to see the provincial government take the initiative in seeking new ideas on how to bolster the province’s technology sector.
While Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous’ recent trip to Silicon Valley to promote Alberta is a step in the right direction, we want to encourage the government to take additional concrete actions that will make our province more attractive to companies and investments in the digital industry right here at home.
With economic optimism on the rise, the time is right for the province to implement a tax credit program for the high-tech digital media industry that will create more jobs in the province’s tech sector and help diversify our economy. By working with the digital media industry in Alberta, the government can make our province a leader in innovation and job creation in this exciting and growing sector.
A tax credit is the right tool that will help new digital media businesses get off the ground by keeping human capital costs down and encouraging investment from both inside and outside the province. Digital media tax credits have been highly successful for our industry in provinces such as Quebec (37.5 per cent), Ontario (35 per cent), and British Columbia (17.5 per cent).
It’s no surprise then that the majority of the more than 500 interactive entertainment studios in Canada are located in these three provinces. Quebec alone has seen the number of jobs in this sector grow ten-fold since 2002; generating $145 million in revenue for the province in 2013. With our industry contributing $3 billion dollars in GDP annually to the Canadian economy and over 20,000 people directly employed, there is no reason for Alberta not to follow suit.
If Alberta wants to be competitive, it needs to offer similar programs to bring tech entrepreneurs and companies to the province, while preventing others from relocating to more tax-friendly regions of the country.
Whether it’s the thousands of new graduates entering the workforce each year, highly skilled talent who may now be seeking opportunities north of the border, or Albertans who currently find themselves out of work, the digital media industry offers well-paying, high-tech jobs that can help diversify our provincial economy. And we have to do more as the number of job losses in the oil and gas industry continue to outpace gains made in the tech sector by three to one.
By having industry and government work together, we can help create an economic environment that will enable companies and startups to thrive and leverage the tremendous amount of talent and opportunity here in Alberta.
The last thing anyone wants is a “high-tech brain drain” that sees the province’s best and brightest pack up and leave. A digital media tax credit would level the playing field for an industry that continues to see other provinces outpace what we are able to achieve in Alberta. With the right level of government partnership, we are confident that our province will have what it takes to compete with the best in the world.
Aaryn Flynn is general manager of BioWare. BioWare is a Canadian technology company that develops video games for computers and consoles. The Edmonton-based developer was founded in 1995, and was acquired by Electronic Arts in 2008. The firm employs over 300 people at its head office in Edmonton in addition to its other studios in in Montreal and Austin, Texas. Popular titles BioWare has produced include: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic; Dragon Age; Jade Empire; and the recently released Mass Effect Andromeda.

Julie Ali ·
While I like that there is a digital media industry in Alberta I don't see why we need to provide a tax credit to this industry.

We've done a lot of subsidy for the oil and gas industry in Alberta and we're still doling out cash to them such as that $30 million for the orphan well program that is their own liability. The amount of subsidy to the oil and gas industry seems to be rather generous with water provided, they get their own natural gas to use and let us not forget the major remediation work that we will be stuck with because the industry won't do this work.

Based on the poor record of subsidizing the oil and gas industry I don't want to do any other subsidy even if it is just a tax credit.

I feel that if a company can't make it in Alberta, that's the free market and competition should decide which companies make it. I feel that it is up to the company to succeed and with the wonderful opportunity to work in Alberta while providing services remotely all over the world--there is no reason why a digital media company would not succeed.

Kids coming out of the Digital media and IT program at NAIT for example can offer their services on their own websites and work remotely. If kids can do this why not companies which are making bigger profits than the kids are? The cost of doing digital media work is so much cheaper in Edmonton or Calgary than in Vancouver or Toronto. It's a fantastic opportunity for companies to work here and I'm pretty sure they would not be here if they weren't sure of succeeding. With such a positive growth environment why would the government of Alberta provide tax credits?
LikeReply1 minEdited
Christopher White
I want there to be opportunities for video game development, but tax credits aren't the answer. A tax credit is just a subsidy that must be paid for by other individuals and buisnesses. They cost the provincial government money that could otherwise be spent on the greater public good. Governments are also hamstrung later when they decide they need to prioritze spending elsewhere (such as school, safety, infrastructure). Just look at Québec when they announced their plans to reduce their subsidies: Industry threatened to leave and the gov't backed off. It also creates a race to the bottom, where provinces must fork over greater % of their limited budget money to keep these companies afloat (often subsidiaries of large, multi-national companies like EA or Ubisoft).

Tax credits never create actual industries. They become a permanent hand-out, discouraging enterprise and unfairly boosting some corporations at the expense of the public purse. Great games continue to come out of Alberta and we aren't laggards when it comes to tech (think: our AI development) and we've made it this far without subsidizing the industry so why start now?
LikeReply6 hrs
Logan Foster ·
The simple answer Chris is that Alberta is an uncompetetive location for tech and digital media to do work in. Our talent might be high at this time, but if we are unable to get jobs because other locations in our confederation offer tax credits that allow their businesses to be more attractive to investors and offer more work for their beds, then we have a major proble. Not only do Alberta based businesses lose out to work because of this (even on contracts for the Alberta Government and projects it funds), but it also scares off investors to our businesses because the perception is that without credits in comparison to other jurisdictions, Alberta based work is not able to give as much bang for the buck, which is exactly what we have seen up to this point in time. Alberta lags behind because the government here is unwilling to do what is in its powers to ensure that businesses can fairly compete in this sector. This started from an igorant PC government that felt that it could ignore the digital revolution of products and services, and it continues today.

Lastly I fully believe that you are confusing "creating" with "augmenting" in regards to the discussion of taxs credits. No one that is actually working in the interactive digital media industry is looking for a free hand out, grants, or free money. What we are seeking is for the Alberta government to ensure that there are fair opportunities to succeed in Alberta as we would see in any other part of CanaAda (or North America), much like what is done for industries such as Oil and Gas development, Farming, Forestry and many others.nd in its ability to attract investment because of unfavorable conditions, it is beginning to show significant levels of lagging behind in its ability to develop cutting edge technology from our research, we are lagging behind in the ability to produce significant cultural content in this digital age, and most importantly it is failing to retain talent and research to be retained in this province because those governments saw the opportunitt and chose to put their heads in the sand or gave those industries the nieve attitude of "mind your own business".

Lastly I fully believe that you are confusing "creating" with "augmenting" in regards to the discussion of taxs credits. No one that is actually working in the interactive digital media industry is looking for a free hand out, grants, or free money. What we are seeking is for the Alberta government to ensure that there are fair opportunities to succeed, and attract investment, in Alberta as we would see in any other part of CanaAda (or North America), much like what is done for industries such as Oil and Gas development, Farming, Forestry and many others and in short remove this "Alberta Disadvantage" by removing the ignorant barriers and road blocks that exists for technology and interactive digital media in Alberta due because we have been too afraid to support something new.
LikeReply5 hrs
Vernon Wise
"Digital media tax credits have been highly successful for our industry in provinces such as Quebec "

I bet tax credits would help all types of companies...
Logan Foster ·
Generally they do, so they are not pie in the sky ideas dreamed up by people looking for free money or to screw the government over. In fact industries like Energy (Oil & Gas), Farming, and Forestry get an assortment of tax breaks and incentives already from the Alberta government (and have for years) to help operate in this province and be competetive. The catch to remember her is that these type of tax breaks require the business to spend in order to recieve, so no one is recieving free money, and they also provide a 6:1 (or greater) return on investment back to the province.
LikeReply223 hrsEdited
Donald Wiwad ·
Vernon Wise, do you not think that people on minimum wage could also benefit from tax credits, or would that cause them to loose their jobs? lol
LikeReply4 hrs
Brian Campbell ·
We already have the highest subsidized private industry in Canada but what the heck.
UnlikeReply216 hrs

No comments:

Post a Comment