Regina, March 20, 2019 –The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is pleased the 2019 Saskatchewan Budget is balanced by keeping spending to sustainable levels and not increasing taxes.
“Overall, this budget sends the right signals to Saskatchewan entrepreneurs,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB’s Vice-President, Prairie & Agri-business. “Small business owners were looking for three things in today’s budget: a balanced budget, with sustainable spending, without hiking taxes.”
Sustainable Spending: “The government will limit its overall government spending to 2.6 per cent in 2019 and 2.1 per cent in 2020,” added Braun-Pollon. “When surveyed on how the government should balance its budget, 76 per cent of Saskatchewan small business owners supported spending restraint (e.g. reducing the size of government through workforce attrition),” noted Braun-Pollon.
“We welcome the government’s reduction in the size of government, through finding efficiencies and workforce attrition, which will result in $35 million in savings in 2019,” added Braun-Pollon. “We know that 93 per cent of CFIB members support reducing the size/cost of government in this way.”
Surpluses should not be a green light for significant spending increases or signing onto expensive collective agreements: “Now that we’re back to balance it will be critical for the government to keep an eye on their spending. Surpluses should not be a license to significantly increase spending on feel good initiatives in future budgets,” noted Braun-Pollon. “Nor should surpluses be a green light for the government to sign onto expensive, outdated and gold-plated collective agreements.”
2019-20 Budget is balanced: The 2019-20 Budget is balanced, with a projected surplus of $34.4 million. Higher surpluses of $49 million, $72 million and $84 million are projected for the following three fiscal years. “Unlike the federal budget delivered yesterday, which has no plan to balance its budget, Saskatchewan has now joined three other provinces (BC, Quebec and New Brunswick) as the only ones to deliver a balanced budget so far this year.”
No Tax increases: The Budget contains no increases to tax rates. All provincial tax rates, including provincial sales tax, income tax and property tax remain the same. “Given the significant cost increases Saskatchewan small business owners are already facing with CPP premium increases, the federal government’s tax changes, as well as the federally-imposed carbon tax, our province’s job creators will be relieved that the budget contained no new taxes or tax increases.”
Tax relief needed in future budgets: “We can’t forget how we got back to balance, which included over $908 million in tax hikes in the 2017 provincial budget,” added Braun-Pollon. “We know the 2017 budget impacted business confidence. That’s why small business owners will be looking for much-needed tax relief in future budgets as the province’s finances improve.”
Urging Saskatchewan not to follow the federal government’s lead in making changes to the taxation of passive investment income for private corporations: “We were pleased to learn the New Brunswick government in their provincial budget yesterday will not be following new federal passive investment rules. This will ensure small firms in that province don’t see tax rates rise from 2.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent,” said Braun-Pollon. “In order to protect businesses’ hard-earned investments, we will continue to urge the Saskatchewan government to follow Ontario and New Brunswick in pushing back against the unfair federal changes. This is another opportunity for Saskatchewan to stand up again for small businesses.”
Municipal Revenue Sharing increases by 10.5 million in 2019: The 2019 budget provides more than $251 million in municipal revenue sharing to Saskatchewan municipalities. “We are pleased the Budget maintains the consistent source of provincial revenue for Saskatchewan municipalities who will now see the formula based on three quarters of one point of the provincial sales tax (PST) revenue collected from the fiscal year two years prior to the current year,” noted Braun-Pollon. “We will continue to push municipalities to use this funding increase prudently to avoid annual property tax hikes.”
“Overall, business owners will like the direction of this Budget,” concluded Braun-Pollon. “As the province’s finances improve in the coming years, the government will need to provide much-needed tax relief.”
To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact Marilyn Braun-Pollon at (306) 757-0000, 1 888 234-2232 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) 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. Learn more at cfib.ca.