Lax on tax

Darrell Cole
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Liberal leader pitches lower levy on small businesses to local chamber of commerce

Lax on tax

AMHERST - Small business will play a prominent role in helping Nova Scotia out of its economic doldrums. That's if Liberal leader Stephen McNeil has anything to do about it.
Speaking to members of the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce during its monthly meeting Tuesday night, McNeil talked about changing the role of small business from that of tax collector for the government to being economic leaders.
"When I was in small business, I felt like I was a tax collector for the province as opposed to someone who was generating employment and economic opportunities for the community," McNeil told chamber members. "If we are to move our province forward and take advantage of the opportunities at the end of this downtown, it will be you who lead the way."
It's the main reason why McNeil wants to reduce the tax load on small businesses by reducing the small business tax from five per cent to one per cent. Such a move, he said, will create economic activity in every community from one end of the province to the other.
"We're not picking winners or losers or picking one region over another, we're allowing the people who are creating the jobs and putting Nova Scotians to work to keep some of their money to invest it back in their businesses and their people," McNeil said. "It not only provides economic stimulus today, but it will position our province to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves at the end of this downturn, like they do at the end of every downturn."
The Liberal leader said it will allow Nova Scotia to be more competitive and undo some of the damage done by a government that has no vision and has allowed this province to lag behind its neighbours and the rest of Canada.
"We are not competitive. If we stay in a cycle that allows our sister provinces to reduce business tax and personal income tax, we will continue to be where we are today - the worst performing economy in the country."
As well, McNeil pledged to take $10 million from the Industrial Expansion Fund and put it into Nova Scotia Business Inc., to fund microcredit loans of up to $25,000 that will allow companies to invest in themselves and their employees or to transition in a new direction.
"For decades, we have simply thrown money at our problems and it is simply not sustainable," he said. "We need to make public policy that is not only talking about today, but is talking about five years and 10 years and beyond. We need to become a competitive province again."

Organizations: Area Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Expansion Fund, Nova Scotia Business

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Nova Scotians, Canada

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Recent comments

  • George
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    I like what he's saying, and it makes sense. However, Liberals around the world are raising, or promising higher taxes. Why would McNeil be any different? Ignatieff is planning on raising the GST and introducing an expensive carbon tax. NS can't afford to cut taxes unless it wants a deficit.

  • Ben
    January 18, 2010 - 10:56

    Congratulations to the the Amherst & Area Chamber of Commerce for getting such high profile speakers to come and share their views, experience and vision with area residents. Great work!

  • me not you
    January 18, 2010 - 10:45

    and what about the 5.6 cent decease in gas taxes that was promise by mr . mcneil over a year ago - is or was that just talk and is off the table ?