Kootenay Columbia MP Wayne Stetski has come out swinging against some tax changes to small businesses proposed by the federal Liberal government.
Stetski says his phone has been ringing off the hook as regional small businesses and professional communities have been outraged by the proposals.
In particular, much of the feedback Stetski says he received surrounds the Liberal plan to drop income-splitting — a policy where a higher income member of the family would split their income with their spouse to lower household taxes.
“To add insult to injury, the government gave Canadians only 75 days to make their views known – much of which will be taken up during the late summer and beginning of the school year, when people are distracted and unable to focus on federal tax policy,” said Stetski, in a press release.
The Kootenay-Columbia MP also charges that Liberal policy has made life more difficult for the middle class.
Since the federal election, Stetski says the government has raised personal income tax rate on skilled an educated workers from 29 to 33 per cent, and have cut almost in half the amount Canadians can put into a tax-free savings account. Other cuts have included the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, the Children’s Arts Tax Credit, the Education Tax Credit and the Textbook Tax Credit.
Stetski also took aim at the growing income and taxation inequality, noting that middle-class incomes have declined over the last 15 years, with the poorest hit the hardest, all while incomes for the wealthiest 10 per cent have skyrocketed.
“Canada’s wealthiest corporations have taken advantage of off-shore tax havens to avoid paying little to no taxes at all,” said Stetski. “Rather than go after them with the full force of the law, the Minister of Revenue made deals to close the tax havens without any penalties – losing billions of dollars in taxes from our government coffers.”
Stetski toured the riding last fall and this spring, holding forums with small businesses in Fernie, Invermere and Nelson. Much of the feedback concerned issues such as lack of infrastructure to attract workers, while small to medium businesses are struggling to stay afloat every day.
He says he’s planning on taking action when the fall legislative session resumes in Ottawa later in September.
“I’ll demand that the consultation period be extended to allow small business to have their say,” Stetski said. “And with my NDP colleagues, we’ll continue to go after the Liberals to close the loopholes that are actually hurting our economy.
“We need to support our small businesses, our professionals, and our educated workers.”