2017 Federal budget cautious with minimal positive impact for business

Photo caption: Greg Mosher of MNP reviews the 2017 federal budget during a luncheon on March 23.

TRURO- A wait-and-see approach of the Federal budget does little to support small business growth.

“From the perspective of our member businesses it appears the budget will have minimum impact,” said Alex Stevenson, President of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce.

“Our Chamber shares the concerns of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which includes a need for government to reduce the cost of doing business in Canada and improve competitiveness.”

The March 22 budget offered new programs for enhanced skill and workplace development, however, there is concern these investments are partially funded by EI premiums set to increase in fiscal 2018-19 by five cents, up to $1.68 per $100 of insurable earnings.

“We welcome the focus on skills and innovation, but are less enthusiastic about an increase in EI premiums to partially fund skills training costs,” said the President.

The Chamber was pleased to see the federal government kept its pre-budget promise to avoid taxation of employee health benefits following a national campaign lobbying against that move.

Investment in trade-enabling infrastructure to boost productivity fell below Chamber expectations, an area Stevenson said the Chamber would like to see an enhanced focus. Those investments represent just 11 per cent of the total $120 billion in spending, with the remainder going toward green and social infrastructure.

“We also have concern regarding the deficit spending of $23 Billion in 2017 and $28.5 Billion by end of 2018. This will increase the overall debt and this in turn impacts our future.”

The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce has been the voice of business in this region for 127 years. It represents more than 435 member businesses and advocates on their behalf at all levels of government on issues of political, economic and social importance.