Rob Hulstein

Rob Hulstein

Federal budget brings mixed response from chamber

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says there are positive and negative components to the budget.

Business leaders have mixed feelings about Ottawa’s financial direction.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce says there are positive and negative components to Tuesday’s federal budget.

“We’re pleased to see additional investment in skills and training,” said Dan Rogers, chamber general manager.

“There is also good news for tourism. There’s a $50 million investment for Destination Canada. It’s a great time to stimulate tourism.”

The budget also includes $120 billion over 10 years for infrastructure with the primary focus being transit, water, sewer and affordable housing.

“It would be nice to see a quicker time frame so it could help stimulate the economy now,” said Rogers.

During a chamber breakfast meeting at the Village Green Hotel Wednesday, representatives from KPMG provided their views on the budget.

In terms of personal taxes, a number of credits have been eliminated, including for children’s fitness and arts and for education and text books.

Income-splitting for families within children under age 18 is also gone.

“Seniors still have the ability to split incomes but young families do not,” said Diana Mahortoff, KPMG tax senior manager.

Rob Hulstein, tax senior manager, took a look at what the budget means for businesses.

“While there was a change, it wasn’t significant in terms of the income tax rules,” he said.

One highlight is that the small business tax rate will remain at 10.5 per cent although the former Conservative government had called for it to be nine per cent in 2019.

Rogers admits there is a concern about the Liberal government’s plan to stall the reduction of the small business tax rate.

“In order to grow our economy, business tax rates need to support business growth,” said Rogers.

“Deferring this tax deduction indefinitely without a clear rationale or a new type of tax support for companies sends the wrong messages to our businesses.”