Small Business Urges Government To Follow Through On Promises In Upcoming Ontario Budget

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CFIB presents 6-point plan to grow the economy

Tuesday January 18, 2005 Toronto – This was the message delivered by senior representatives of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business during their pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queens Park today.

CFIB’s Vice-President for Ontario, Judith Andrew said, “Our small business members will be looking to the upcoming budget for signs that their issues are taken seriously and that the government does actually intend to deliver on its election commitments to them.”

Andrew pointed out that when one examines the McGuinty government’s record, the balance of new initiatives have gone against small business interests. “The jury is still out on whether or not this government wants to help small firms grow, but to date, the scorecard is not promising,” she said.

“If they’re interested in turning things around, we have a 6 point plan for unleashing small business’ potential and growing Ontario’s economy that they should be implementing in the budget,” said Satinder Chera, the Federation’s director of provincial affairs.

The CFIB plan includes:

  1. Deficit, Taxation — Work to get Ontario’s $5.5 billion deficit under control over the short term. Conduct spending reviews to identify areas for reduction. Aim to pay public servants based on fair comparisons to matched occupations in the private sector. Refrain from further tax increases.
  2. Property Tax — Make up for suspending the Bill 140 ‘hard cap’ by first modeling and then implementing a mandatory graduated property tax rate –a small business threshold amount that attracts tax at the residential rate or reinstate the cap.
  3. Business Insurance — Honour the Premier’s commitment to work with CFIB and our members on reviewing small business access to insurance coverage. Consider strategies to enhance customer service and to improve transparency of product and pricing.
  4. Regulation and Paper Burden — Empower the new small business agency to fulfill the Premier’s promise to reduce the regulatory workload on business. Follow the example of British Columbia and commit to reduce regulations by one-third, then publish the count and follow through. As regulations are culled to only those necessary, expand the web portal to a complete ‘business-centred’ repository of rules and forms. Improve tax administration by promulgating a Charter of Taxpayer Rights.
  5. Government Purchasing — Use procurement as a deliberate strategy to grow business opportunities—change policies and practices that serve to exclude small businesses and worsen value to the taxpayer. Outlaw union-only contracting, allowing all businesses to bid on government contracts.
  6. Financing — Audit tax-supported financing programs and where value-for-money falls short, re-direct monies to a new capital gains incentive (i.e. zero rate) for direct, patient (minimum 5 years) investment in independent small- and medium-size enterprises.