Friday, January 19, 2007

NB backwards on corporate welfare

New Brunswick's new government is apparently getting serious about "self-sufficiency." In fact, according to the self-sufficiency website:

"Self-sufficiency is a tall order – it's nothing less than a proposal to change the standing of New Brunswick in the federation from a ‘have-not' to a ‘have' province. It's not a new idea, but it will require fortitude and courage to accomplish. If we don't even try to get to Self-sufficiency, nothing important will ever change in this province."
So far so good. Having New Brunswick move from a have not province to a have is a laudable goal, and it will take some new thinking.

Unfortunately they seem to have taken a huge step backwards with the release of the first report of the "Self-Sufficiency Task Force."

"Raising the general business tax rate, but providing tax relief to businesses that invest in new technology and equipment should be considered.

This is not to say that there will not be job losses in the short term as individual sectors and businesses adjust. There will, particularly in the forestry and fisheries sectors where the challenges are greatest. For those who lose their jobs in these sectors, other employment opportunities hopefully await them in other industries battling chronic labour shortages. Nevertheless, adjustment and retraining measures will have to be put in place to smooth the transition for those who will be affected."

(emphasis mine)

So high taxes and corporate welfare schemes to encourage investment are going to turn New Brunswick into a "have" province? If that worked, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and the Atlantic provinces would already be leading the nation in economic growth.

(Note: Saskatchewan's economy has started to turn around since they cut business taxes and the PST)

The task-force already acknowledges it will lead to job losses. And the best they can offer is that hopefully other jobs will be there for the people laid-off by the new higher business taxes.

Yeah, businesses are going to be clambering to get into New Brunswick after they raise taxes.

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