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Budget 2016: Spending cuts, tax freeze top priorities for NB small business

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Moncton, January 11, 2016 – Serious spending restraint is the only way to get New Brunswick’s books back into the black, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s (CFIB) New Brunswick pre-budget survey.

“Small- and medium-sized business owners are telling us that deficit spending is neither desirable nor sustainable,” said CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs, New Brunswick, Denis Robichaud. “Eighty per cent of small business owners felt that reducing the size of government was the best path to bringing balanced budgets back to New Brunswick.”

Eighty-six per cent of New Brunswick small business owners said that government has not done enough to reduce overall spending. The pre-budget survey also shows that small business owners are strongly opposed to tax increases.

“Seven out of 10 owners say that the provincial government has done a poor job in reducing the total tax burden on businesses,” said Robichaud. “With a few weeks to go before the provincial budget is tabled, CFIB members believe that in a fragile economy, governments need to keep all taxation levels low, including consumption taxes like the Harmonized Sales Tax.”

In its submission, CFIB also addresses the importance of fostering economic growth. Nearly 60 per cent of small business owners are not confident that Opportunities NB has been successful in its mandate to create jobs and develop the economy.

“It’s clear that the mandate and precise nature of the services offered by Opportunities NB have not been well communicated to small business owners,” added Robichaud.  “One in five entrepreneurs hasn’t even heard about the organization. In addition to better promoting its services and raison d’être, we recommend that Opportunities NB publish a detailed annual report based on solid performance indicators so that we can effectively assess their work.”

In its submission, CFIB also recommends the government of New Brunswick:

  • Avoid tax increases, including an increase in the HST;
  • Focus efforts on reducing government spending and the overall size of government before going to taxpayers for more revenue;
  • Ensure red tape reduction is a priority by working closely with the small business community to understand what the main irritants are and plan solutions;
  • Heighten awareness of the services and mandate of Opportunities NB among the small business community;
  • Include entrepreneurship in school curriculums;
  • Offer assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses that want to develop or expand their export opportunities.

Spending reduction: small business owners share their concerns

In addition to issuing its submission to the provincial government, Robichaud and CFIB President Dan Kelly recently met with Premier Brian Gallant to present him with over 1,200 “Action Alerts,” all signed by small business owners who want the province to focus on reducing spending.

“Small business owners’ message to the Premier can’t be any clearer. They support the government’s efforts to reduce spending, but they are vigorously opposed to all tax hikes, including an increase in the HST. Let’s hope that the government will heed the advice of small business owners. After all, they are the main job creators in this province,” said Robichaud.

About CFIB

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 5,000 in New Brunswick.

For more information:

Denis Robichaud, Director of Provincial Affairs for New Brunswick

506 855-2526 or [email protected]