PEI restaurant industry applauds end of licensee levy



    CHARLOTTETOWN, April 12 /CNW/ - The provincial budget delivered welcome
news to Prince Edward Island's restaurant and bar owners, including an end to
the 10% levy on wines and spirits they purchase for resale to their customers.
The levy is similar to one in New Brunswick that was recently declared illegal
by the Supreme Court of Canada.
    "We're very pleased the government listened to the concerns of small
business owners and put an end to an unnecessary and costly fee," says Liam
Dolan, owner of Claddagh Oyster House and Olde Dublin Pub, and a Director with
the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).
    The levy carried a $350,000 a year price tag for PEI licensees. In recent
years, the Island's hospitality industry has struggled due to a decline in
tourism and sluggish consumer demand. From 2000 to 2006, real sales at
restaurants and bars fell 16%, and the number of restaurants and bars fell by
18%.
    "The last several years have taken their toll on the Island's hospitality
industry. An end to the licensee levy, coupled with broader tax relief for
consumers and small business, is great news for hospitality operators and
their customers," says CRFA's Vice President, Atlantic Canada, Luc Erjavec.
    CRFA is pleased that the budget contains a small surplus, while at the
same time delivering much-needed tax relief worth $34 million to consumers and
small businesses, including:

    
    -  A 2% increase in income tax brackets and changes to the high-income
       surtax that will leave more money in the hands of consumers;
    -  An increase to the lifetime capital gains exemption for fishermen,
       farmers and small business from $500,000 to $750,000;
    -  Continued cuts to the small business income-tax rate, scheduled to
       reach 1% by 2010.
    

    PEI's $200-million foodservice industry represents 5% of the provincial
economy and employs more than 5,000 people, or nearly 8% of the provincial
workforce.





For further information:

For further information: Luc Erjavec, CRFA VP, Atlantic Canada,
1-877-755-1938, ext. 101; Jill Holroyd, CRFA Communications, 1-800-387-5649,
ext. 4217


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