Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for April 19, 2011

Barr touts NDP’s promises to small businesses

Kevin Barr, the territory’s New Democratic Party candidate, pushed his party’s focus on small business this morning at Well Read Books in Whitehorse.

By Jason Unrau on April 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

READING A NEED – Kevin Barr, the territory’s NDP candidate for the May 2 federal election, meets with Jan, left, and Lorraine Stick at Well Read Books this morning to promote his party’s proposals to help the small business sector.

Kevin Barr, the territory’s New Democratic Party candidate, pushed his party’s focus on small business this morning at Well Read Books in Whitehorse.

There, Barr reiterated the NDP’s promise to cut taxes to small business from 11 to nine per cent and implement a job creation credit which would provide up to $4,500 to businesses for every new employee they hired.

“Small business hires approximately 50 per cent of the workforce,” said Barr. He believes the tax relief and hiring incentive for small businesses would add 220,000 jobs to the Canadian economy.

To pay for these promises, which the NDP estimates at $2 billion, the party would restore the corporate tax rate to 19 per cent – the level it was at in 2008.

Currently, the corporate tax rate is 16.5 per cent, and under the Conservative regime, that would continue to drop to 15 per cent by 2012.

Jan Stick, the owner of Well Read Books, said the NDP’s proposed tax relief would help.

“I’m still a growing business so I’m always looking for new staff,” she said. “To me, it would mean things like being able to pay my staff more.

“It’s a great business and I love what we do here, but there’s not a huge profit. So anytime that we could make a bit of money, that would be great,” Stick added.

Including herself, Stick employs seven people – six part-time employees while she works “more than full-time” – and Barr said the $4,500 tax credit for new employees could be prorated to qualify two part-timers as equal to a full-time staffer.

But when the NDP talks about tax reductions for small businesses, the party’s campaign promise is really aimed at operations with annual net revenues of less than $500,000.

Asked what would qualify as a small business under the NDP’s tax cut plan, Barr said businesses with few employees like Well Read Books. Later, his campaign headquarters clarified that, confirming it would apply to those with 100 employees or fewer.

However, as far as Revenue Canada is concerned, all businesses are currently taxed 11 per cent on the first $500,000 in profit.

Those businesses with less than $500,000 in annual profit are considered “small business”. Any revenue a business experiences beyond that – regardless of how many employees a business has – is then taxed at the current rate of 16.5 per cent.

Under the NDP’s plan, that base tax rate on the first half-million in profits would fall two per cent.

But for Lorraine Stick, Jan’s sister-in-law and owner of Climate Clothing, the NDP’s tax reduction promise would fit nicely.

“If they want to see small business stay in business, they need to give us some kind of support,” said Lorraine, who joined Jan and Barr at Well Read Books this morning.

“We’re just as important as a big corporation in any community.”

Barr said the NDP would also slash interest rates on credit cards to five per cent plus prime and cut the charges credit card firms levy on businesses which conduct credit card transactions. Currently, interest rates on credit cards range anywhere from 18 to 22 per cent and higher.

This week, the New Democrats surged in the polls, drawing neck-in-neck with the Liberals at 25 per cent support apiece.

It’s a scenario that’s not been seen since 1988, when Ed Broadbent led his New Democrats to a record 43 seats.

Going into the May 2 election, the NDP has 37 incumbents and Barr, bouyed by recent polls, hopes to add to that number.

“The NDP has always been working for the people and it’s time to offer them that opportunity here and in Canada in a big way,” Barr said.

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