October 4, 2017
For Immediate Release

Why Isn’t Ball Clearly Saying “Stop” the Federal Business Tax Measures?

Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking, “Why isn’t Premier Dwight Ball clearly demanding that Ottawa stop the small business tax changes that will hurt Newfoundland and Labrador instead of simply urging Ottawa to spend more time explaining them?”

“When the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers were in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Premier said the federal government needs to do a better job of ‘explaining’ the proposed tax changes, and he gave an example of someone who misunderstood their impact,” said Hutchings.

“Small business owners in this province recognize the negative impact that the proposed changes will have and don’t need the Premier telling them they’re not informed. What they want is not better explanations. They want these job-killing tax measures taken off the table. Why isn’t the Premier advocating on their behalf instead of advocating on behalf of the federal Liberals?”

During Ottawa’s consultation phase which ended on October 2, the St. John’s Board of Trade was adamant in their submission to the federal Finance Minister that the proposed changes will have “significant negative impacts” on us, leading to higher taxes, higher costs for small and medium businesses, higher costs for family-run businesses, and particular impacts on women. They called for the proposals to be stopped and reconsidered.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is urging the federal government “to take these unfair proposals off the table‎.” They have stated: “These changes won’t just affect the wealthy as the government has implied…. they directly target small business owners who make daily sacrifices to keep their businesses alive, support their families and create jobs in their communities.”‎

The Conception Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, like others, has posted a message on their website stating: “We urge all Atlantic Canadian business owners to contact their local MP and voice their opposition to this ill-conceived, hastily proposed, and economically regressive piece of legislation that will negatively impact the ability to do business in Atlantic Canada for years to come.”

Hutchings said, “The advice of advocacy groups representing the province’s small businesses makes a great deal of sense. Options such as lengthier consultations, a royal commission on taxation and a standing committee focused on small and medium enterprises would be far more sensible than barging ahead with changes that will do a great deal of harm to our economy, at a time when Newfoundland and Labrador is especially vulnerable.”

“Perhaps Premier Ball is having difficulty arguing convincingly for not raising taxes after his own government raised more than 300 taxes and fees in 2016 and left most of them there in 2017,” said Hutchings. “While other Premiers are being very vocal and clear in calling for a halt to these changes, our own Premier seems to be posturing rather than calling for the outright halt that small businesses and their representative organizations are recommending. Premier Ball and the Liberals are not on the same page as our own business community, which is unfortunate, because they need a strong voice to speak up for the concerns of local businesses and employers, not another voice telling them that Ottawa knows best.”

“The silence of our provincial Minister of Finance is also troubling. Surely the provincial Finance Department has a raft of statistics to show the impact of Ottawa’s tax changes on the local economy. This would be the time to release that information to help make the case for local businesses. The Minister’s silence is doing our province no favours.”

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca