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."