The Kelowna Chamber is pleased with a few aspects of the Federal Budget but like many other Chambers across the country, the local Chamber sees it as a missed opportunity to move forward on bold changes to the tax code that the national network had been calling for.
“The move by the federal government to reduce the regulatory burden to the free flow of wine and spirits across provincial borders is extremely positive,” said Carmen Sparg, President of the Kelowna Chamber. “But while it is a good step forward, we still need greater cooperation from the provinces to remove inter-provincial trade barriers.” Sparg added, “While the Budget delivers on some of our advocacy priorities, particularly in the areas of skills and infrastructure, it misses an opportunity to provide concrete measures to address the tax and regulatory burden on businesses.”
There was confirmation that the Federal Government intends to make changes to make it easier to move wine and spirits across provincial borders but that positive move is tempered by the fact the provinces can still use their authority to put up trade barriers if they wish. The Kelowna Chamber raised the issue at last year’s Canadian Chamber AGM and was pleased Minister Morneau recognized that call both during his fall fiscal update and again in tabling the 2019 budget. The Finance Minister also announced a $2.2 billion dollar top up of infrastructure funding which will help local governments address major infrastructure deficits. Hopefully that will allow Kelowna’s municipal government to provide a bit of a break on future property tax hikes for businesses that are on average likely to see a minimum 4% hike in their local property tax bill this year.
The election-year budget addressed financial security, skills training, younger home buyers (they can tap into $10,000 more from their RRSP funds and use a new first-time buyers program through CMHC – basically a Federal loan – no changes in the stress tests). Pharmacare is just a plan to be a plan; highest budget item is spending on Indigenous services ($8.1B/five years). This budget skews directly toward attracting younger voters, no bad thing.
The 2019 federal budget fails to address the fundamental issues undermining the ability of Canada’s business owners to create more jobs and economic prosperity for all Canadians, according to an analysis by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The Budget did deliver on some of the Canadian Chamber’s policy proposals outlined in its Pre-Budget Submission, including:
However, the Budget did not address the key issues identified by businesses across Canada:
Other Budget 2019 proposals require more consideration and details before determining the impact on businesses, that the Chamber will be studying in the Budget in more depth.
QUOTE FROM THE HONOURABLE PERRIN BEATTY, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The core issues facing our economy which are driving away investment and suffocating our ability to attract top talent include broken taxation and regulatory systems and an inability to get our resources to tidewater. Without addressing the underlying, structural problems in our economy, we will not see the growth needed to create greater prosperity for Canadian families.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Carmen Sparg, President
Dan Rogers, Executive Director, Kelowna Chamber