One of the first pledges made by the Progressive Conservatives in the leadup to the provincial election is a capital idea. But like most grand initiatives, the question arises about how doable it is.
Lower taxes for small business – few would argue against that. PC Leader Jamie Baillie said he would slash the tax, currently at 3.5 per cent on business-generated income, to zero. That’s definitely the right direction, although the thought of doing it in the course of a single mandate is a bit dizzying.
Baillie, who toured Pictou County Monday, said that would mean $62 million staying with the businesses, which, one might hope, would mean better ability to expand and to hire more people. He’s said the party would eliminate the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund to help make up for the lost revenue.
The pledge certainly should capture attention. He said his aim would be to make Nova Scotia the most business friendly province in Canada.
Certainly from the perspective of business owners, high taxes and red tape are cited as the biggest obstacles. Essentially, the role of government in relation to business should be to provide protection – for example, to workers and the environment – and beyond that get out of the way.
People these days are hyper-aware of taxation levels, and business owners are undoubtedly more so. Politicians pretty much have to treat taxes as a necessary evil and find ways to offer relief whenever they have the leeway.
The NDP while in government also made some progress in this area, reducing the small business tax back in 2010 to 4.5 per cent when it hovered at five. They have also promised to reduce it by Jan. 1 to three per cent from 3.5. Again, it’s the right direction.
Quite obviously it’s an aim any political party would want to take if they find it within their means.
We’ll have to see how the other parties respond to this. Any boost to small business in this province would be one of the best ways to help revive the economy.