Do as I say, not as I do – or something like that

There is something a little untoward about people who spent a lot of time urging other people to give to the poor and then make efforts to give less themselves. It’s a bit “Like a preacher stealing hearts at a travelling show” or something like that.

The gist of it is this. Bono is out asking the world to give more money to feed the poor and when Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates moved their music-publishing company this year to the Netherlands. The Dublin-based rock group, which Forbes estimates earned $110-million (U.S.) in 2005, will pay about 5-per-cent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.


Anyway, tangential to the main point here, I got to thinking why doesn’t New Brunswick implement some scheme to attract musicians and artists? I think we could use a little ummph and maybe the creative freaks could be a part of the solution. Richard Florida sure thinks so.

I think we need more creativity and innovation if we are to move NB forward. One thing about the creative class is that they do tend to be quite innovative.

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0 Responses to Do as I say, not as I do – or something like that

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dude, stop stealing my ideas!:) I pitched that years ago. Royalties though are claimed federally I believe, not provincially. The other side of it though is that artists don’t have to move there, they just move their income there, so its not like Bono and pals are going dutch.

    To play devils advocate though, it’s not like these guys haven’t done lots for Ireland. Hell, they pretty much built up the waterfront themselves. One result of things like that is people get to think they are far better at dishing out the goods than government (and don’t most people think that here?) So saving taxes so they can be used for one’s own purposes makes sense.

    Keep in mind that that tax loophole is the first of many coming down the pike as Ireland is forced to conform with European Union regulations, and it really shows the big threat all economies face-capital flight. As the tax holes close, how much more will flee Ireland, and what kind of shape will they be in when its done?

  2. David Campbell says:

    Okay, but the issue here is to try and find some things that NB can do to be proactive about its development. Is any other Canadian province aggressively trying to grow its cultural sector in this fashion? BC? NS? I am not just talking about subidizing movie production….

  3. Anonymous says:

    I know I know, but the problems were essentially that royalties don’t figure in provincial taxes.

    However, if part of your income comes from a sale, then you still pay provincial tax on it. There is also an exemption that can be put on cultural products.

    So even without royalties there are opportunities. But again, this doesn’t even seem to be on the map. Here’s the liberal platform:

    1. Implement a book publishing policy to support the artists
    working with the written word, including a new fund to
    support literary translation;
    2. Support the Beaverbrook Art Gallery to prevent the loss
    of art works donated to this institution;
    3. Provide assistance to New Brunswick artists and
    performers seeking access to federal support from
    FACTOR/CTL,VideoFACT, the Canada Council and other
    federally-sponsored cultural funds;
    4. Ensure the eligibility of cultural entrepreneurs for start-up
    capital that would be available to small businesses in New
    5. Undertake an inventory of architecturally-significant
    buildings and communities with a view to identify, protect
    and promote the common built heritage of New
    6. Protect and enhance the New Brunswick Provincial
    Archives as well as the public library system throughout
    New Brunswick; and;
    7. Promote heritage tourism sites, such as Kings Landing and
    Le Pays de la Sagouine, as part of New Brunswick’s tourism
    marketing strategy.

    So they say they will make cultural entrepreneurs eligible for financing, but of course entrepreneurs in ANY field have a tough time getting startup.

    The rest does nothing of course. The problem is that people in other sectors will start screaming bloody murder if cultural industries get a hand up, and most in those fields head for actual industries in Ontario, BC, or the states. It’s a tough road to hoe.

  4. scott says:

    David, I will venture out on a limb here and take a stab that PEI most likely did as they had four Liberals in there during the ’90s wherein many were cabinet ministers. So I’m quite certain that they must have found quite a bit of funding to either spearhead cultural initiatives or match provincial ones.