City council votes to reduce and eliminate assessment tax on cinemas

The City of Regina has voted to get rid of its amusement tax.

The tax, which only applies to the city’s cinemas, will decrease from 10 per cent to five per cent starting on October 12 before being eliminated beginning on January 1, 2024.

Councillor Lori Bresciani brought forward the motion to eliminate the tax calling it ‘unfair after council was supposed to just vote on reducing the tax.

Without the reduction, Regina would have the highest overall taxes applied to movie theatres, with five per cent GST, six per cent PST and a 10 per cent municipal tax rate once PST expands on October 1 for a total of 21 per cent.

With the reduction, that number drops to 16 per cent, which is still the highest in the country, but by only a one-per-cent margin, but still higher than Saskatoon, which sits at 11 per cent.

Michael Paris, a board member of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada, spoke for the removal of the tax and said that the removal is great news.

“Cutting the tax in half was a great step, but going the added measure to eliminate it completely in 2024 was a great response,” he said. “It was a great day for movie-goers in Regina, who have been paying 10 per cent too much for far too long.”

Paris said that he feels the council voted to eliminate the tax due to who ends up paying the tax.

“When we were talking about who actually pays this tax, families, children, seniors, those are the people that are at the end of the day coming through our doors, and those are people that are paying this tax.”

The reduction to five per cent is expected to reduce revenue by $350,000 and $700,000 once the tax is fully eliminated.

“City councils in Saskatchewan don’t have a lot of tools to raise revenue outside of property tax, so them agreeing to give this one up finally is no small thing, and they have to balance that in the shadow of very really municipal priorities,” he stated.

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