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Small biz says 'No' to tax hikes & ‘Yes’ to significant spending restraint

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CFIB pre-budget survey reveals 72% support reduced spending; only 7% support tax hikes

We regularly meet with government and opposition parties to present your priorities, as well as discuss the key issues impacting your business. We recently met with the Sask Finance Minister Doherty to present Saskatchewan entrepreneurs’ views on how the provincial government should deal with its fiscal challenges and get its budget back to balance without jeopardizing our reputation as a business-friendly province.

We told the Minister that given the number of challenges Saskatchewan business owners are facing, the worst thing the provincial government could do is hike taxes or introduce new taxes to fund the province’s revenue shortfall. We fear tax hikes will only further erode business confidence. We also said a forecasted deficit of $806 million highlights the need for significant spending restraint.

Our recommendations are based on feedback we received from over 385 business owners who responded to CFIB’s 2017-18 Saskatchewan Budget survey.

CFIB's 2017-18 pre-budget recommendations:

 

DISCUSSING PRE-BUDGET PRIORITIES

DISCUSSING PRE-BUDGET PRIORITIES

CFIB’s VP, Prairie & Agri-business, Marilyn Braun-Pollon presents 2017 pre-budget priorities to Hon. Kevin Doherty, Minister of Finance

1. Getting back to balance:

Implement significant restraint measures such as:

  • Continue to further reduce the size/cost of Executive government through attrition by another 5 per cent over next 4 years.
  • Require Crown Corporations and non front-line components of Third Party entities to implement a 10 per cent reduction in their size and cost through attrition over the next four years.
  • Narrow wages/benefits disparity (20.4%) between public and private sector employees by implementing a wage freeze for Executive government, Crown Corporations and key Third Party entities, until the Budget is balanced.
  • Eliminate the banking of sick days in the public sector and introduce affordable short-term disability plans for public sector workers to better align sick leave provisions with those of the private sector and provide newer public sector employees with peace of mind should they fall ill.

If necessary, run a modest deficit in 2017-18, with a plan to balance the budget in 2018-19, to avoid increasing taxes.

2. Avoid tax hikes to stay competitive:

  • Do not increase taxes or introduce new taxes to address revenue shortfall.
  • Reject calls for province wide property tax levy to fund infrastructure
  • Reject any proposal that would provide increased taxation powers to municipalities
  • Continue to oppose a carbon tax and urge Federal Government to reconsider its plan to impose a national carbon tax in Saskatchewan and recognize our province’s current actions to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Freeze funding to municipalities at current levels until municipal governments better manage their operating spending.

 

DISCUSSING PRE-BUDGET PRIORITIES

DISCUSSING PRE-BUDGET PRIORITIES

CFIB’s Marilyn Braun-Pollon (L) and Jennifer Henshaw (R) present 2017 pre-budget priorities to the Official Opposition.

3. Continue to cut red tape

  • Accelerate the timeline for the baseline count of all business related regulations so relief can be provided to Saskatchewan business owners sooner.
  • Mitigate the impact of annually indexed minimum wage by introducing a special training wage (similiar to Nova Scotia) and a gratuity wage for workers who earn tips (similiar to BC and Ontario).
  • Eliminate the requirement for employers to apply for a specific permit if an employee wants to observe a public holiday on a different day.

4. Acknowledge the important role the small business community plays in Saskatchewan in the Budget Speech

While Saskatchewan continues to be a good place to own and operate a business, we fear the province may consider increasing taxes or introducing new taxes in order to address their revenue shortfall. This would be short-sighted and would threaten Saskatchewan’s reputation as a business-friendly province. Instead, we urge the government to focus on the spending side of the ledger in order to get back to balance by 2018-19.

If you have any other questions, please contact CFIB Business Resources at 1-888-234-2232 or email [email protected].

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