Charlottetown – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce recently outlined the organization’s recommendations and priorities for the 2017 provincial budget in a submission made to the Department of Finance earlier this month.
The Chamber welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the annual provincial budget on behalf of their members including businesses in Cornwall, Charlottetown and Stratford. An annual membership survey assists the Chamber in identifying what issues are of greatest concern to businesses in the capital region. This year, the Chamber outlined priorities in the form of seven action items with a focus on private sector growth.
“Each action item was developed based on the collective input of our membership, reflecting the needs and concerns of the local business community,” said Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce President, Pam Williams. “They were formed with private sector growth in mind – something government has agreed is critical in order for our province to prosper into the future.”
The action items cover the themes of taxation, economic development, employment, and finance and are as follows:
- Return the provincial budget to balance as a way to reduce the net debt and signal to potential investors that the province practices fiscal discipline.
- Change the provincial tax regime to ensure businesses do not face a growing competitive disadvantage. PEI’s small business tax rate at 4.5% and higher than all other Atlantic Provinces and the general corporate tax rate is higher than all other provinces except Nova Scotia at 16%;
- If a tax on carbon is to be introduced, it should be offset by reductions in other taxes in the interest of the province maintaining any tax competitiveness;
- That an employment strategy underlies the province’s “Recruit, Retain, Repatriate” population strategy;
- Recognize the linkage between K-12 curriculum and the local labour market to better prepare high school graduates for the workforce;
- Continue infrastructure funding at the overall levels of recent years, with an emphasis on strategic investments that may enhance private sector investment and employment opportunities;
- That all provincial budgets, tax policy, and development programs focus on creating an economic and business environment that encourages continued private sector expansion.
The complete provincial pre-budget submission can be found at www.charlottetownchamber.com/reports-policy-submission.
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the “Voice of Business” on economic issues for close to 1000 members, representing more than 18,000 employees in small, medium and large enterprises in the capital region.