Small business fees worse than a tax grab

NDP IBRD Critic Christopher Mitchelmore

NDP Innovation, Business and Rural Development critic Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says new fees and increases to old fees will have small business owners dipping into profits to pay the provincial government up to 700 per cent more this year.

“Small business in Newfoundland and Labrador accounts for close to 40 per cent of all employment,” said Mitchelmore. “Entrepreneurs play a critical role in ensuring the economic success. Government somewhat disingenuously has said it will not increase taxes with this budget, but the fee increases amount to little more than an underhanded tax grab.”

Government has unfairly targeted both the forestry and fishery with licence fee increases ranging from 33 to 700 per cent, says Mitchelmore. “These renewable industries could, with improved government policies, add more employment and value to the rural economy,” he said. “Instead, these fees are yet another example of how the Ministers are managing the decline of our resource industries.”

The new $500 highway access fee will deter rural business start-ups by increasing a company’s debt burden before it is even operational.

“The province obviously expects business to pass those costs on to the consumer,” Mitchelmore pointed out. “Eating away at people’s disposable income is another way of indirectly raising taxes.

“New Democrats believe in reducing barriers for small business. In May 2012, I seconded a Private Member’s Motion urging Government to reduce the small business tax by 25 per cent. Added fees and higher small business taxes are not part of a business owner’s plan for a secure future.”

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