CFIB gives government a B grade on its restraint budget

CHARLOTTETOWN, April 23 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is giving today's budget a B grade for exercising restraint and for finally laying the ground work for balanced budgets.

"CFIB has been telling government- both past and present- that deficit spending is simply not sustainable. It is our hope that government will follow through with the promises made today and that balanced budgets will become the rule in PEI and no longer the exception," said Erin McGrath-Gaudet, Senior Policy Analyst for PEI.

According to small business owners, drastic measures aren't necessary in order to achieve a balanced budget by 2014.

"In recent years, average annual spending growth has been almost 10 per cent. That has been more than enough to outpace even strong revenue growth. With a 2.5 per cent increase in spending, today's budget will start us down the road to sustainability," said McGrath-Gaudet

CFIB was also pleased to see that no tax increases were announced..

"At a time when some other provinces have used the economic downturn as an excuse to tax and spend, it's encouraging to see the PEI government resist that temptation," said McGrath-Gaudet pointing to a recent HST hike in Nova Scotia.

Government also gets good marks for following through with the planned cut to the small business tax rate.

But while CFIB was happy to see no tax increases, McGrath-Gaudet was disappointed to see no relief for working Islanders.

"In PEI, our basic personal amount (the amount Islanders get to keep before paying taxes) is the lowest in the country and has only increased 4 per cent since 2001. Comparing this to the 50 per cent increase in the minimum wage and it's not hard to see that government is missing a real opportunity to help the working poor."

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Independent Business

For further information: For further information: Erin McGrath-Gaudet at (902) 620-4914 or (902) 393-6094 (cell)

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