More needed to help small business grow and create jobs

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TORONTO – Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says the Liberal government’s corporate tax cut isn’t enough to help small businesses cope with the rapidly rising cost of paying workers a living wage, and will do nothing to help them grow and create jobs.

“Cutting the corporate tax rate helps businesses maximize their profits, even if they do that by cutting jobs,” said Schreiner. “It’s obvious that neither Finance Minister Charles Sousa nor Premier Kathleen Wynne have ever operated a small business or a non-profit given their approach on this issue.”

The GPO plan to raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1,000,000 in payroll would automatically and immediately benefit small businesses and non-profits to lower their labour costs. They wouldn’t have to fill out paperwork to apply or wait until they file their taxes. The GPO plan would not create a disincentive for small businesses to grow. It would create an incentive for them to create more jobs that pay better.

“Payroll tax reductions help small businesses by immediately lowering labour costs, improving their monthly cash flow and creating incentives to create jobs, ” said Schreiner. “Lower labour costs help businesses create more jobs and better-paying jobs.”

The GPO supports the planned increases in the minimum wage, but would also like to see increases in social assistance rates to help the most vulnerable in Ontario.

“Both policies would inject more money into local economies, benefitting local businesses and communities,” said Schreiner. “We are the only party advocating for a balanced approach, supporting a decent living wage for workers and lower payroll taxes for their employers.”

​Schreiner urges the Liberal government to offer real help to small businesses

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Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner is urging the Liberal government to offer real help to small businesses in Tuesday’s fall economic statement by lowering payroll taxes on employees.

“The most efficient and effective way to help small businesses to create more jobs is to raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax, which has increased only slightly since the late 1990s,” said Schreiner.

“I call on the Ontario government to announce that it will raise the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax from $450,000 to $1,000,000 in payroll. This will allow locally-owned companies to double the number of jobs they create before paying taxes on those jobs, helping them grow their business.”

Businesses with payroll of less than $5 million would not be charged the EHT on the first $1,000,000 of payroll, helping them save up to $20,000 a year and injecting over $800 million into local economies.

The governing Liberals do little to help small businesses, preferring instead to hand out billions of dollars to huge corporations and to cut taxes for Bay Street instead of Main Street.

“The Liberals focus on big corporations and mostly ignore the real job creators — small businesses whose individual job numbers add up to millions of good jobs,” said Schreiner.

“As a former small business owner, I know this tax change will make a real difference for both mom-and-pop shops, as well as for start ups looking to grow their business.”

The Greens’ tax cut plan would also help small businesses adjust to a rapidly rising minimum wage.

“The GPO is the only party with a balanced plan to support small businesses and living wages for workers,” said Schreiner, who is also the Green Party candidate in Guelph in next June’s election.

Schreiner said the small business entrepreneurs who are essential to building diversified, resilient local economies that generate sustainable jobs and prosperity are not being properly supported by the Ontario government.

“There are two parties of big business and one party of no business at Queen’s Park,” he said. “Greens are the only party standing up for small business.”

The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and policies that work for people to Queen’s Park.

Cannabis monopoly will ramp up criminalization of pot

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Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner supports efforts to keep cannabis retailers away from schools. But he is calling on the Liberals to stop the government-monopolization of marijuana, which will do nothing to stop the underground market for cannabis.

The Liberals sent letters today to all Ontario municipalities saying the government-owned LCBO will try to reduce the number of existing dispensaries as it helps identify which towns and cities will get government-run cannabis stores.

“The Liberals’ approach seems to ramp up criminalization of pot outside the government monopoly, which undermines the reasons for legalizing it in the first place.” said Schreiner.

“There is a better way – highly regulated and licensed local businesses to allow local farmers, small businesses and Indigenous groups to participate in the market, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.”

The Liberals current plan to open only 40 stores next year with a maximum of 150 across the province will not be enough to meet demand or combat the underground market.

“The government’s plan is likely to result in unsafe, unregulated cannabis to still be available on the underground market,” warned Schreiner.

The GPO is calling for a system that:

1. Regulates and licenses small businesses and dispensaries to sell cannabis in a safe and controlled way;
2. Ensures tax revenues from cannabis sales are used to fund education, mental health and addiction programs;
3. Creates more local jobs and prosperity by supporting small businesses, local farmers, and indigenous communities.

Read Schreiner’s open letter to Ontario cabinet ministers at gpo.ca/stop-monopolization-marijuana
Sign our petition to stop the monopolization of cannabis.