Charlottetown, PE – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce responded to the 2018 Federal budget by welcoming investments in innovation and skills development, which are fundamental to supporting the continued growth and diversification of Prince Edward Island’s economy.

“The positive investments in scientific research, equipment, infrastructure, youth employment and entrepreneurship will help our exporters increase product development, sales and employment. This revenue is the fuel for our retailers and small businesses to thrive,” said Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce President, Rory Francis. He also noted the increased role of regional development agencies such as ACOA in the innovation agenda.

The Chamber cited concern regarding the projected deficit of over $18 billion and the lack of any plan to move to a balanced budget. “This budget does not give enough consideration to how these initiatives will be paid for. We are of a mind that when times are good, government should be looking at ways to address the country’s growing debt, not add to it,” said Francis.

The Chamber added that the budget does not put Canada in a position to appropriately respond to a possible downturn in the economy, given the unknowns surrounding matters such as NAFTA, rising interest rates, and US tax reforms.

The Chamber welcomed clarity on the federal government’s approach to taxing private corporation passive investments. The Chamber sees the revised changes as a sign that government listened to the concerns of small business owners in P.E.I. and across the country.

“The measures announced today at the very least provide clarity for business owners who will be impacted by these changes,” said Francis. “However, the new rules still add significant complexities to the existing tax system.”

The Chamber also welcomed the reduction of the federal small business tax, which was announced last fall and reiterated during today’s budget. The Chamber has consistently advocated that the federal government uphold their previous commitment to do so.

The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce serves as the “Voice of Business” on economic issues for close to 1000 members, representing more than 17,500 employees in small, medium and large enterprises in the capital region.