This is the third installment in the Townsman’s weekly series from the two declared Kootenay East candidates for the upcoming provincial election — Bill Bennett of the B.C. Liberals and Norma Blissett of the B.C. NDP. The question of the week is: What will your government do to support and enhance services to small businesses in B.C.?
Small businesses employ over 1 million people, grow our economy and help communities by paying municipal taxes and donating to groups like United Way. As a kid, I worked in my parents’ small business. Then Beth and I owned a fly-in fishing and hunting business where we started with nothing and worked hard to build our business. I know from experience, government policies can either generate confidence or uncertainty.
High taxes create uncertainty and discourage business from investing and creating new jobs. Today, our personal income taxes are Canada’s lowest and business taxes are second lowest. We’ll keep it that way. Businesses invest, pay taxes and create jobs when they are making a profit. NDP taxes were the highest in Canada when they were in government and yet, they are promising to raise income taxes again. They are also bringing back the unfair corporate capital tax, which is a tax on what a business owns, not on income. Credit Union members should be concerned.
Government can either generate confidence or uncertainty with its policies, including regulations. An unnecessary or unreasonable regulation hurts business and the jobs it creates. We eliminated 40 per cent of the regulations we inherited from the NDP and were the first province to pass a law requiring annual reports on regulations. We’ll continue to recognize the importance of common sense regulations.
We’ll also keep growing markets for business. Asian exports to BC businesses have grown 106 per cent. And we’ll also continue investing in skills training. We’ve already invested $35 million into the College of the Rockies and I’m working on an expanded Elk Valley college campus to exploit the job opportunities in forest, tourism and mining businesses.
Bill Bennett is the B.C. Liberal candidate for Kootenay East