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Business applauds NDP for entrepreneurial spirit

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MANITOBA'S business community gave the NDP a thumbs-up for its efforts to enhance the entrepreneurial climate here.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/03/2009 (5058 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

MANITOBA’S business community gave the NDP a thumbs-up for its efforts to enhance the entrepreneurial climate here.

The commitment to eliminate the small business tax is easily the most applauded initiative in Finance Minister’s Greg Selinger’s budget. The final one per cent will be phased out by the end of next year. When the NDP came to power in 1999, the small business tax was eight per cent.

Jim Carr, CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba, called the final step a "very powerful move."

"It enables the government to boast about a tax regime in Manitoba," he said.

Carr said he’s also happy to see other levies — such as the capital tax and corporate tax — coming down, too. The only downside is they’re falling more slowly here than in other provinces. He wasn’t about to raise too much of a fuss, however.

"We recognize it’s the best the government can do at this economic moment," he said.

Shannon Martin, Manitoba director of provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, gave the NDP full credit for eliminating the small business tax but said he’s disappointed that there was "absolutely nothing" in terms of personal tax relief.

"It’s absolutely astounding. I’ve never seen that before," he said.

Evelyn Jacks, president of The Knowledge Bureau and a Winnipeg-based educator in tax and financial services, said eliminating the small business tax will ease cash flow constraints on a key driver of the economy.

She said the province is sending a message that it’s open for business by lowering the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent this July, continuing with the phase-out of the general corporation tax by the end of next year and mirroring business-tax reductions announced in the recent federal budget — including increased depreciation rates for manufacturing machinery and equipment and computer systems.

"I think (the tax cuts) are fantastic," Jacks said. "The message to a young entrepreneur is ‘consider Manitoba as a place to do business regionally, nationally and internationally.’"

Selinger said the province is doing its best to create a business-friendly environment. "The overall cost of doing business in Manitoba is among the most competitive in Canada," he said.

Dave Angus, CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, took issue with Selinger’s assessment.

"We have a long way to go on tax. The payroll tax is the biggest impediment to doing business (in Manitoba)," he said. "But we’re happy with this budget. It’s appropriate for the times. We asked for a balanced approach and that’s what this budget delivered."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

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