Tax burden unchanged and still no credible fiscal plan

Small business reaction to 2018 provincial budget

St. John’s, March 28, 2018 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is expressing concern over the 2018 provincial Budget as it does little to reduce the net cost of doing business. While the tax reduction measures identified in the Budget could be considered a positive step for small business owners, the overall effect will be minimal. There were also no details on what a new carbon pricing plan would look like; CFIB eagerly awaits the plan’s release later this year. There is concern the government has not adopted any credible fiscal plan to balance the budget. The debt continues to increase and debt servicing costs will now be almost half the cost to deliver health care.

“The budget’s proposed tax relief will do very little to decrease the cost of doing business in the province,” said Vaughn Hammond, director of provincial affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador. “Even though expenditures for programs and services are staying flat, as the provincial government tries to deal with paying its growing debt, it means spending will increase in the next fiscal year.”

The government’s fiscal plan is light on details, particularly on spending reductions, so it is distinctly possible the government’s targets may not be met. The fiscal plan does nothing to address the costs associated with Muskrat Falls rate mitigation efforts and still relies on oil revenues for growth. The government states it will continue the policy of attrition to reduce the size of the public service. Unfortunately, there are no details in the budget on how the government will assure Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that the size of the public service will be controlled given the no-layoff clause in the new collective agreements.

“The cost of doing business in Newfoundland and Labrador will remain relatively high,” Hammond noted. “Small business owners who were looking to this budget for any sign the government would realistically deal with its serious fiscal situation will be disappointed.”

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Vaughn Hammond, Director of Provincial Affairs, CFIB

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region. Learn more at