Earlier this week the Conservative’s balanced their budget, expanding the tax-free savings account, while also cutting the tax rate for small businesses from 11 per cent to nine per cent by 2019, a cut that many business leaders and politicians believe will have a significant impact on the Elk Valley economy.
“One of the most significant ones for not only the Elk Valley but all of the Kootenay-Columbia is the reduction in the small business tax,” Kootenay-Columbia Member of Parliament (MP) David Wilks said. “It is estimated that this will put $2.3 billion back into the pockets of job creating entrepreneurs between now and 2020.”
Embracing this gradual change, both the BC and Fernie Chambers of Commerce applauded the federal government.
“This was certainly not an easy endeavour, with dropping oil prices and ongoing global economic uncertainty,” John Winter president and CEO of the BC Chamber said of the balanced budget. “Canada is in an enviable position, being one of only a few nations to announce a balanced budget.”
The 2015 balanced budget was promised by Finance Minister Joe Oliver in 2011, with the hope of government spending being reduced by $1.4 billion.
The Conservatives are currently projecting a $.9 billion surplus in 2016-17 despite still having a deficit for 2015-16.
Locally, the small business tax decrease has intrigued the business community.
“This is good news for our local economy,” Fernie Chamber of Commerce board president Todd Fyfe said, “as any relief in tax burden for our business members will only strengthen them.”
In terms of financial gains, the Canada Small Business Financing Program is expecting to expand under the new budget, as the maximum loan amount will increase from $500,000 to $1 million.
“The federal budget shows the government’s continued support to small business and that they are a vital piece in the Canadian economy,” Fernie Chamber Executive Director Patty Vadnais said. “The Fernie Chamber will be identifying the programs applicable to its membership and sharing those details with its members.”
City of Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano also embraced the tax break, noting that she hopes this change will bring more business to the area.
MP candidate Wayne Stetski, however, raised some concerns over the small business tax rate reduction.
Despite acknowledging the importance of this break in the Kootenay-Columbia area, Stetski said the decrease will be done at a slow rate in comparison to the NDP’s proposed one per cent cut per year.
“It’s a little slower than I would have liked to have seen,” he said. “A lot of the budget is post dated.”
Stetski continued, “I think that’s the right tax to reduce. Getting that tax down is absolutely the right thing to do. This will hopefully generate new jobs. Small business is a key element, particularly in Kootenay-Columbia.”
In terms of the budget as a whole, Stetski also raised concerns over affordable daycare and a liveable wage not being included.
“Those are the kinds of things that I hear from constituents of Kootenay-Columbia that were missing,” he noted.
Despite the constituents concerns over the 2015 federal budget, Wilks assured the public that strides are being taken to improve living in the Elk Valley.
Included in the budget is an additional three years of funding the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program (RFCPP) at $10 million per year beginning in 2016/17.
To look at other program funding, visit http://www.canada.ca/en/