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Manitoba party leaders respond to small business priorities ahead of September 10th election

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Party leaders neglect to provide the immediate tax relief small businesses need 

Winnipeg, September 4, 2019 – Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released responses to its Manitoba Election 2019: Party Leaders’ Survey on Small Business Priorities ahead of the September 10th election. Leaders from three of the four major provincial parties responded to questions on taxation, spending, red tape, labour and training – but their responses leave business owners needing more. 

“If I was grading these election platforms, I’d say all parties have neglected to provide small businesses with the immediate tax relief they need,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Manitoba. “While there are positives, we are disappointed that no party has committed to increase the Basic Personal Exemption amount to the national average, which is the top priority for small businesses.”

The questions reflected recommendations made in CFIB’s Small Business Platform, which identified tax relief as the top priority for Manitoba’s small businesses. However, no parties committed to provide tax relief plans for all of the three major areas of tax concern: the Basic Personal Exemption (BPE) amount, education property taxes, and payroll taxes. 

The New Democratic Party of Manitoba promised to increase the Small Business Corporate Income Tax threshold to $550,000, but did not commit to address any major tax concerns. The Manitoba Liberal Party was the only party not to respond to the survey. 

The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba committed to one of the three major tax concerns with its long-term plan to phase out all education property taxes, beginning the year after balancing the budget in 2022-23. The Green Party of Manitoba committed to removing education property taxes by moving the funding requirements under personal and corporate income taxes. They also committed to use their proposed carbon tax - $150 per tonne of CO2 emissions - to lower and eventually eliminate the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax Levy. 

While the four parties are all offering too little tax relief, there are some areas where the parties share positive ideas:

  • Both the NDP and PCs committed to balance the budget in the 2022 fiscal year.
  • Both the NDP and PCs committed to work with municipalities to reduce permitting red tape.
  • The NDP, PCs and Green Party all committed to allow businesses to choose whether to open on statutory holidays.
  • The NDP, PCs and Green Party all committed to bring forward prompt payment legislation or similar changes in the construction industry and work with industry stakeholders. 

“While it is encouraging to see that the parties are on the same page as small businesses in terms of government spending, more must be done to help improve Manitoba’s small business climate,” added Alward. “CFIB will work hard to push the next Government of Manitoba to provide more meaningful tax relief for the province’s job creators after September 10th.”

Positive commitments for small business:
The party leaders made the following commitments:

NDP: 

  • Increase the small business corporate income tax threshold from $500,000 to $550,000.
  • Balancing the budget in 2022-2023.

PC:

  • Long-term plan to eliminate school property taxes once the budget is balanced. 
  • Balancing the budget in 2022-2023.

Green:

  • Moving school property taxes into under personal and corporate income taxes.
  • Require the public release of a full costing of all significant new government initiatives before they are implemented.

Liberal:

  • The Liberal Party of Manitoba did not respond to CFIB’s Leaders’ Survey

Areas of concern for small business:
The party leaders made the following commitments:

NDP: 

  • Increase the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.
  • Eliminate the Regulatory Accountability Secretariat, which oversees the province efforts to measure, track, report and reduce red tape.

PC:

  • No plan to deliver on 2016 commitment to raise the BPE amount by $2,000 by 2020.
  • No commitment to not raise taxes or introduce any new ones.

Green:

  • Introduce a higher carbon tax in 2020 ($50 per tonne), which would increase annually by $10 per tonne.
  • Introduce a 35-hour work week.

Liberal:

  • The Liberal Party of Manitoba did not respond to the Leaders’ Survey

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, director of provincial affairs for Manitoba, please call 204-982-0817 or email [email protected]. You can follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

You can also learn more about CFIB’s recommendations to Manitoba’s party leaders for the upcoming provincial election by reading the Manitoba Election 2019: Small Business Platform.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings.