Charlottetown, PE – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce applauds the tabling of a balanced budget by the province – a move that the Chamber has consistently lobbied for. The Chamber sees today’s budget as an opportunity for government to focus on creating an environment that encourages continued private sector growth.
“Our members have consistently viewed controlled government spending as a major priority,” said Pam Williams, President of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. “Today’s budget signals to the business community that government is now positioned to reduce taxes and put Island companies in a more competitive position regionally and nationally.”
The Chamber suggests that the announced review of provincial tax credits in future budgets should also include a goal of implementing lower tax rates.
“To ensure Island businesses do not face a growing competitive disadvantage, there remains a need to review and change the provincial tax system,” notes Williams. “PEI has the highest small business tax rates in the region and among the highest corporate tax rates in the country. This challenges prosperity, job creation and investment.”
The Chamber noted that there was no definition of plans around the proposed tax on carbon for the province, and reiterated the Chamber’s position that the tax should be revenue neutral.
The Chamber will be looking for further details on how today’s budget positions the province to take advantage of the Atlantic Growth Strategy and the federal Innovation Agenda. These initiatives present an immediate opportunity for investment in high-tech jobs and the new economy in communities across the province thus supporting recruitment, retention and repatriation efforts.
Through the Island Advance initiative, a province-wide project of the Chamber, there has been a focus on access to capital for businesses that have significant growth opportunity. The announcement of the new Angel/Seed Investment Fund established by Island Capital Partners is a win for supporting entrepreneurship and investment in start-ups developing innovative products and services.
Today’s return to balance was done with a focus on increased GDP growth at 1.3% for 2017-18. This projection is reasonable and aligns with the views of the business community in the greater Charlottetown area.
“A recent survey of our members suggested that business confidence is relatively high for 2017 with more than 61% expecting their revenues to increase and 36% expecting stable revenues,” said Williams, “This optimism can only be maintained through a consistent focus on removing fiscal and infrastructure limitations to economic growth.”
Penny Walsh McGuire
Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 902-628-2000 x 227