Province provides much needed maintenance with spring budget



    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Ontario's business community commends the
government for a budget that strikes a good balance considering the pressures
facing the economy today.
    "Today's budget begins to lay a stronger foundation for a more productive
economy with certain targeted measures to improve our infrastructure,
strengthen our labour force, and reduce the cost of doing business," says Len
Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "These
maintenance strategies will help to put Ontario on more solid footing, and we
hope will help pave the way for a more aggressive strategy down the road to
assist the sectors hardest hit by the economic slowdown south of the border."
    The OCC is eagerly awaiting two reports, the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal
and Service Delivery Review and the Ramsay manufacturing report, to provide
crucial steps towards strengthening our communities and reforming our tax
structure.
    In keeping with recommendations made by the OCC, today's budget puts in
place several key initiatives to assist the manufacturing and resource
sectors:
    
      -  eliminates the capital tax for manufacturing and resource sectors,
         retroactive to January 1, 2007;
      -  provides a 3 year extension (from 2009 to 2012) of the accelerated
         Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) rate for manufacturing and processing
         machinery and equipment investments made before 2012;
      -  through the OCC, establishes a new Global Expansion Program to
         assist Ontario's Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to diversify
         their export markets.
    

    In addition, roughly 30,000 businesses in 85 municipalities in Northern
Ontario are expected to share in savings of more than $70 million as the
Business Education Tax (BET) rate is reduced more rapidly. The reduction in
the BET was announced in the 2007 Provincial Budget after the OCC provided a
detailed analysis of the benefits of a lower BET rate.
    "Today's budget recognizes the importance of diversifying our global
investment and trade, no longer a luxury but now a necessity. And of course
we're pleased to accept responsibility for the new Global Expansion Program
which will allow us to directly assist hundreds of Ontario companies access or
expand into new markets," adds Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario
Chamber of Commerce. "This, coupled with new investments in skills
development, will help Ontario's economy increase its competitiveness on a
global scale."
    The OCC is also pleased to see that the provincial government has
recently acknowledged the importance of provincial content levels for publicly
funded mass transit projects, as a further way to support Ontario's
manufacturing sector. The OCC looks forward to more details on this
announcement.
    The full OCC pre-budget submission to the Provincial Finance Minister can
be found on our website at www.occ.on.ca.

    The OCC represents over 60,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.





For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, Director Media Relations and
Communications, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241, C:
(416) 605-8205


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