TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Last year, in the midst of the worst economic downturn in recent memory, Ontario's small- and medium-sized businesses continued to do what they do best - create jobs. In what the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling a calculated "political" document, with the next provincial election just 19 months away, today's Ontario budget effectively shut the door on the province's job creators.
"For a budget billed as, Ontario's Plan for Jobs and Growth, there was little to nothing for small business owners and their employees," said CFIB's Ontario director Satinder Chera. "While there was something for almost everyone else, including $500 million in taxpayer dollars to bail out large pension plans, it was our sector that was left footing the bill."
Ontarians know all too well that today's deficits and debts are tomorrow's taxes. While the government's earlier calls for "restraint" were encouraging, today's half-hearted 8-year plan to balance the budget will increase the provincial debt to nearly $270 billion by 2014; up from $193 billion today. "As a result, each man, woman and child will owe an extra $5,700 to the banks," said Chera. Adding, "Small businesses were looking for a detailed plan to help pull the province out of the current financial sinkhole. Instead, we got a line from Bob Marley - Don't Worry, Be Happy."
Small businesses were also looking for action on the HST such as a rate reduction. This would have offered a clear benefit to both consumers and businesses who are questioning the benefits of harmonization. There was also no movement on suspending increases to job-killing payroll taxes/premiums (i.e. WSIB) and the minimum wage, which is slated to go up again next week. And, there was no mention of the government's previous commitment to reduce the nearly $11 billion annual regulatory burden on small business.
On a positive note, expanding the Second Career Fund will help Ontarians take advantage of skills training, rapid re-employment and summer jobs. Also, previously announced cuts to personal and corporate taxes (small business corporate tax rate, and small business surtax) will help Ontario to become more competitive amongst its sister provinces.
"More could have been done to foster the very growth the government was trying to achieve. With this budget small business is left wondering about their place in an Open Ontario," concluded Chera.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business
For further information: For further information: To arrange an interview with Satinder Chera, please call Gisele Lumsden: (cell) (647) 808-5769; For further information, visit www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/advocacy/ontario.html