Businesses in Nova Scotia will soon pay less tax as the premier revealed the provincial government’s plans to reduce the corporate and small business tax rates.
At the State of the Province Address hosted by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Premier Stephen McNeil shifted away from a question about whether or not the province would lower personal income taxes by highlighting their plans to support businesses.
“We will make some tax changes but they will not be on the personal income side,” he explained to the crowd of several hundred people.
“We know that our corporate tax is the highest in Canada,” McNeil continued when pressed by the moderator, chamber president and CEO Patrick Sullivan. “We will be cutting the corporate tax by two per cent to take us to 14 per cent.”
The small business tax rate will be reduced from three per cent to two and a half, making them the lowest rates in Atlantic Canada.
The moves, McNeil says, are designed to support existing businesses and attract new companies as well.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our economy and this is about how do we continue to keep the momentum of our economy going,” he explained.
“There are investments that businesses make every year, there are investments they need to make every few years and they’re always looking for money,” Sullivan explained. “So I think this is a real opportunity for them to use some of their own money to invest in their businesses.”
NDP Leader Gary Burrill was critical of the plans which are said to take up $80 million of the upcoming budget, citing child poverty, low housing availability, rising tuition costs and a lack of nursing home beds as challenges the government should prioritize ahead of business tax breaks.
“These are problems that could be solved with investments,” Burrill said. “We would like to see the money that might be foregone in a corporate tax reduction directed in those ways.”
The changes will come into effect on April 1.