Small business takes a hit, again

I had to wait so I could collect my thoughts on your most recent action plan announcements contained in The Vancouver Sun, in regards to the food and beverage industry being required to provide nutritional information on menu lists.

I had to wait so I could collect my thoughts on your most recent action plan announcements contained in The Vancouver Sun, in regards to the food and beverage industry being required to provide nutritional information on menu lists. This, Madam Premier, is the final straw for many small businesses.

I am going to list some salient points that you and your cabinet members just don’t seem to comprehend or deem important enough to consider. I am but one operator in this province who is feeling the onerous and excessive weight of your policies while you pander for the votes of the general populace.

Since HST was introduced, or should we say shoved down our collective throats, I have experienced the following:

Closed one of our three operations and reduced our workforce by seven staff members at a payroll impact of over $85,000, plus their spending in the local economy of a 2.5 to 1 ratio impact as an economic generator.

Returned our provincial liquor licence at a loss to the province of liquor tax and HST

The increase of the minimum wage, while justified, could have been spread out over a longer impact period. While I currently pay well over the new pay scales, I have now been approached by some staff to ascertain my plans to increase their wages because “they are now experienced staff members.”

The possibility of your raising the small business tax by two per cent to cover the HST rebates to the general populace, and, of course, that tax increase may never be rescinded in the future.

The ongoing increases in operating costs experienced daily (that are almost impossible to pass on daily to our customers and would they pay the rising costs anyway?) — food, B.C. Hydro, telephone and all other operating expenses. Oh, and let’s not forget the increasing municipal costs from taxes to water to utilities, local assessments and on and on.

All of this while indexed pensions, salaries and expenses to our elected officials carry on unabated.

And then recently, I am being told that you are going to require nutritional contents on menus.

Notwithstanding daily efforts to provide home-cooked quality, meals and baking, we also provide all information that we have available when infrequently, requested to do so.

The cavalier attitude of the president of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Industry that it only costs $500 per menu item to have your menu analyzed for content is absolutely a ridiculous scenario.

As of today, that would be approximately $32,000 to cover off our basic menu items, not including ongoing daily specials and other products. The upside, of course, would be that it would generate additional revenue for you to so wisely spend in the province.

Our industry sector is being flagellated to death with your policies and taxes. I and everyone else would like to know where you and your staff are obtaining information that proves we have recovered from our recent recessionary economy, to the degree that we should be inundated with additional costs at this time? I would dearly love for you to take some time out of your schedule and come put on a small business owner’s hat for just one day and experience the pleasure of currently conducting business in this province. Have you even asked about the number of food and beverage operations that have closed or are on the edge of the abyss of doing so? How much are you and your colleagues prepared to pay for your daily food intake, without it coming out of taxpayers’ pockets through reimbursed expenses?

As you slowly but inexplicably grind the provincial economy to a halt, I and most others would like to know  when you will step back from these cavalier policies and also take your hands out of our financial pockets?

 

Jeff Wuolle