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Building on Balance: What Island small businesses are looking for in Budget 2019

Provincial budgets always contain lots of little details that have the potential to have big impacts on small businesses.  For this reason, CFIB always makes sure to tell policymakers and politicians exactly what we want to see in their annual budgets (and sometimes what we don't!) to help small businesses thrive.

Long-term fiscal health

  • Look beyond achieving a balanced budget and continue to focus on spending restraint to ensure that debt is contained and that overall spending is sustainable over the long-term;

  • Look to increased regional cooperation as a means of finding spending efficiencies as is currently seen in areas of health care and joint procurement initiatives;

  • Conduct a future-looking analysis of the province’s finances to ensure challenges such as the aging population are factored into today’s spending and program decisions.

A tax system that encourages growth

  • Set a multi-year plan to make our small business tax rate the lowest in Atlantic Canada.

  • Examine and adjust personal income tax exemptions and brackets and introduce automatic indexation to inflation so that their value doesn’t continue to erode over time.

  • Conduct a thorough tax review with competitiveness in mind.  In particular, attention should be paid to having corporate and personal income tax systems to allow Island businesses funds to invest back in their operations and individuals more take-home pay. 

A modern regulatory environment

  • Implement the measures set out in the Regulatory Accountability and Reporting Act, including guidelines for developing and assessing regulations (e.g. considering non-regulatory options, measuring the costs and impacts of the regulation, and cost-for-cost model where the introduction of new regulations includes an offset)

  • Introduce a broad-based measure to evaluate the current regulatory burden on the Island and ensure that regulatory reduction efforts are contributing to an overall reduction for Island businesses.

  • Explore launching a Business Navigator service in PEI based on the current Nova Scotia model which helps business, particularly new businesses, navigate the demands of governments.

Adjusting to a tight labour market

  • Continue a strong focus on immigration, including provincial nominee streams that target the workers that small businesses need.  This includes workers at lower-skill levels.

  • Support private sector efforts to adapt to a reality where labour is increasingly scarce. Small business owners say the best way government can support their productivity is by reducing the tax burden so they can invest in more efficient technology and equipment and reducing the overall regulatory burden so they can devote that time and energy on their business


To learn more, read our submission to the PEI government's pre-budget consultations. 

February 5, 2019

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Topics in this Article: Government Spending

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