Small biz own­ers once bit­ten, twice shy

The Welland Tribune - - OPINION -

Fi­nance min­is­ter Bill Morneau has a strange way of go­ing about dam­age con­trol. “Trust me, you’ll be fine!” is the mes­sage he’s selling small busi­ness own­ers who have mo­bi­lized against the Lib­er­als’ pro­posed changes to the tax rules.

The gov­ern­ment is at­tack­ing the le­gal ways mom and pop busi­nesses, fam­ily doc­tors and other pro­fes­sion­als use to lower tax rates — in­come split­ting with fam­ily mem­bers, shel­ter­ing in­vest­ment in­come within cor­po­ra­tions and claim­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness in­come as cap­i­tal gains, which carry lower tax rates.

Un­der­stand­ably, small busi­nesses across the coun­try are in­censed. The Lib­er­als are us­ing loaded lan­guage like “loop­holes” to sug­gest small busi­ness peo­ple are tax cheats.

Mean­while, Sta­tis­tics Can re­ports, small busi­nesses ac­count for al­most 90 per cent of new job cre­ation in this coun­try, and em­ploy about 70 per cent of pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees.

Hik­ing their taxes may have broad eco­nomic reper­cus­sions.

Morneau ap­peared on the CTV Sun­day morn­ing pro­gram Ques­tion Pe­riod and brushed aside con­cerns, stat­ing that folks mak­ing less than $73,000 a year won’t be im­pacted at all by the changes.

He’s also stressed that only busi­ness own­ers mak­ing more than $150,000 or who have money left in their ac­counts af­ter max­ing out their RRSPs and TFSAs will feel the ef­fects of his “tax fair­ness” plan.

None of this is as as­sur­ing as Morneau seems to think it is. Small busi­ness own­ers in this coun­try should be for­given if they’re skep­ti­cal. They’re likely feel­ing once bit­ten, twice shy.

Af­ter all, the Lib­er­als cam­paigned on drop­ping the small busi­ness tax rate down to nine per cent. Yet in the 2016 bud­get, they broke that promise, keep­ing it at 10.5 per cent for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

All they’ve got is Morneau’s word that th­ese tax changes won’t af­fect lower earn­ing small busi­nesses, yet the Lib­er­als have proven their word — at least on fi­nan­cial matters — isn’t worth much th­ese days.

Cana­di­ans be­lieve in­di­vid­u­als and cor­po­ra­tions should pay their fair share. That is not in dis­pute. But that doesn’t mean they want more wealth dis­tri­bu­tion.

We should be cel­e­brat­ing peo­ple’s suc­cess, not pun­ish­ing them. Is there some sort of moral im­per­a­tive to tar­get peo­ple mak­ing more than $150,000?

Right now, very lit­tle of this makes sense to Cana­dian busi­ness own­ers. Morneau and Trudeau need to do a whole lot more to ex­plain th­ese changes. — Post­media Net­work

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.