PST expansion a ‘surprise’ for members of Sask. entertainment sector

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Members of Saskatchewan’s sport and entertainment sector said the province’s expansion of the PST to include event admission came as a surprise.

In the provincial budget released Wednesday, the province announced the current six per cent Provincial Sales Tax (PST) will be expanded to include admission and entertainment charges effective Oct. 1, 2022.

Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) president Tim Reid, said the last two years were some of the darkest times the sports and entertainment industry has ever faced.

“News of the expansion of the PST to include admission and entertainment charges was a surprise to our organization and one we received with sensitivity,” Reid said in a statement. “This charge will impact our business operation and entertainment goers.”

Reid said throughout the pandemic, communication with the province had been “exceptional.” He said it’s critical that communication continues.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders also said they were surprised to learn about the PST addition in the budget.

“As a not-for-profit sports team and despite rising inflation costs, we worked tirelessly to minimize the financial impact on our fans,” the Roughriders said in a statement. “We know [the] decision will impact many in our community who are looking forward to coming together on Rider game day and for the 2022 Grey Cup.”

The Riders said they will be in touch with fans and season ticket holders once they develop a greater understanding on what the change will mean for the team.

At the Saskatchewan Legislature on Thursday, the NDP raised questions about the tax.

“These new taxes don’t make any sense. This is a time we should be supporting folks to come together, to celebrate, to hold events after a time that we’ve been forced apart for so long,” Trent Wotherspoon, NDP MLA, said. “These are all industries that were hit the hardest during the pandemic and are all in desperate need of support.”

Wotherspoon said the Sask Party would’ve known that if its members had “consulted and listened to” organizations and local businesses.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the 2022-23 budget supports economic growth in the province and industries impacted by the PST should benefit from that.

“That means workers coming to this province. More and more jobs, more people having a decent income with disposable money,” Harpauer said. “They’re going to go to those Roughrider games. They’re going to go to those concerts. They’re going to go to all of those events. They’re going to go golfing. They’re going to go to the gym. Those workers is what those industries want to see.”

More to come…