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The following press release is circulated to NS Media in reaction to the Provincial Budget tabled April 27
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 27, 2017
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce supports the direction taken in 2017-18 Nova Scotia Budget
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is encouraged by the direction demonstrated in today's provincial budget in terms of responsible fiscal management and investment in trade-enabling infrastructure. The Nova Scotia government is also to be congratulated on matching expenditures and anticipated revenues under conditions of slow economic growth.
"The business community in Nova Scotia is encouraged by the government's commitment to fiscal responsibility in tabling consecutive balanced budgets" said Terry Malley, Chair of the ACC. "Maintaining this balance will require the province to focus creating conditions for job growth and business expansion as Nova Scotia continues to be among the most heavily taxed provinces in the country."
"This year's budget is good for the economy and good for Nova Scotians. We are pleased that the government has listened to many of our budget recommendations, most notably by raising the small business tax threshold" said Valerie Roy, CEO of the ACC. "This overdue change will provide a significant boost to businesses that are facing increased costs in the form of a price on carbon and increases in Canada Pension Plan premiums."
In its pre-budget submission to the Minister of Finance, the ACC called for renewed measures to support economic growth, creation of efficiencies within government, population and workforce renewal, and spending restraint. Today's budget document includes positive proposals to achieve prosperity such as:
Recent surveys of ACC members in Nova Scotia highlight a need for improving economic development support in communities across the province. The success rate of the Regional Enterprise Networks has been mixed. After several years of slow progress the ACC encourages the government to review the effectiveness of the REN program and at a minimum take steps to expand opportunities for business interests to be represented in local economic planning.
Rural Nova Scotians will be pleased to see an increased allocation to support enhanced rural internet service, and eagerly await details of a government's strategy for assisting communities to ensure access to high speed broadband services.
The increase in the basic personal exemption rather than the minimum wage is seen as a more productive approach to ensuring a living wage. The ACC encourages the government to extend this positive measure and implement indexing for all tax credits and pursue a "systematic and structural plan" for tax reform as promised in the 2015-16 budget.
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the Nova Scotia government has achieved a very unique status in having presented consecutive surplus budgets. It will require significant effort to protect this surplus position and urges the government to maintain its focus on enhancing the environment for business investment and attraction.
The Strong, Credible, Unified Voice of Business
The Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Inc. serves as a federation of 95 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade throughout Atlantic Canada, representing more than 16,000 businesses and professional people. The Nova Scotia membership of ACC includes 28 chambers of commerce and boards of trade.
With the support and united strength of the chamber network, ACC continuously searches for opportunities to foster a prosperous, self-reliant and sustainable Atlantic Canada.
Vice President, Policy
Atlantic Chamber of Commerce