Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you today to express my alarm at your government’s proposed tax changes and their potential impact on small business and family farms.
These proposals have been a major topic of conversation at every stop I have made across Saskatchewan during my leadership campaign over the last several weeks. The reaction of voters has been universal concern – for business owners, concern for the viability of their businesses, and for employees, concern for the viability of their employers and the future of their jobs.
You see, the history of Saskatchewan informs this discussion. For decades, Saskatchewan ranked last or near last among Canadian provinces for economic growth, job creation, population growth, and many other economic indicators. These poor results were a result of uncompetitive tax policy and a government that interfered too much in the economy. The result was a massive out-migration of many of our entrepreneurs and innovators to more business-friendly provinces or countries.
The people of Saskatchewan remember this well. Those leaving were their children and grandchildren, making a future for themselves in other places. And this went on for years, seeming like it would never end.
But a decade ago, this began to change. Saskatchewan started to grow, and people started to return to the province. And this happened because Saskatchewan decided it was going to change from a place of high taxes and under-investment into a place with competitive tax rates that encouraged investment. Saskatchewan was going to focus on growth and opportunity, and the people of Saskatchewan were going to benefit.
Resource royalty rates and personal income tax rates were made more competitive. The small business tax rate was decreased. Adjustments were made to property taxes. Red tape was cut. And the province began to promote itself as a great place to be, not just a great place to be from.
The results speak for themselves. Over the last decade, income growth in Saskatchewan has led the country. No longer last in Canada, Saskatchewan was now first in Canada. First in employment growth, first in income growth, and first in population growth. People moved back to Saskatchewan, families were reunited, and young people stayed after graduation instead of leaving. In the ensuing prosperity, more than 150,000 people moved to Saskatchewan, tens of thousands of jobs were created and tax revenues soared, enabling the province to provide more and improved services to a larger population than ever before.
Your proposed small business tax changes threaten to throw away all of this progress. Except that this time, we are not just talking about Saskatchewan, but all of Canada.
I urge you to reconsider your attack on small business. Small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing more Canadians than any other category of employer. Let’s not turn Canada into the backward-sliding Saskatchewan of yesterday, but turn Canada into the forward-looking and growing country we know it can be if it stays competitive and focuses on growth and opportunity for everyone.
Saskatchewan Party Leadership Candidate