2 March 2015 - For immediate release
(Fredericton, N.B.) – Last week, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce provided a joint submission to the Engage NB program review lead by Minister Victor Boudreau.
“Our three chambers have been working more closely together over the past couple of years,” said Krista Ross, Fredericton chamber CEO. “Given the significance of the program review, we felt it was important to speak with a united voice from a business perspective - particularly small- and medium-sized businesses. The best thing the government can do to eliminate the deficit is work on enhancing economic connections so that the province’s businesses can grow and create jobs.”
The submission focused on natural resource development and innovation, as well as encouraging the government to not only put great weight on the cost-cutting measures suggested by province’s civil servants, but also to then empower our public sector workers to do the jobs with minimal interference. The complete submission is attached to this release.
“We felt that it was important to stress that those of us outside of the government are going to be disadvantaged in terms of making very specific recommendations particularly on what cuts should be made to reduce the deficit,” added Joseph O’Donnell, Fredericton chamber president. “But there are literally tens of thousands of employees in the civil service and I am willing to bet that each and every one of them has ideas on how the government can save money or how they could be empowered to do their job better. We often hear about the civil service being demoralized and when I am talking to them, the point that keeps coming up over and over is that they don’t feel like anyone is listening.”
Raising more revenue through taxes, particularly a HST increase, is not supported by the three groups. Increasing taxes should be the method of last resort, particularly in the poorest province in Canada. There are a myriad of options to consider first, such as enhancing royalty structures for natural resources, reverting from an income-based means test to an asset-based test to determine personal contribution to long-term care, or other ideas that may be “out of the box.”
“Overall, we think that raising taxes should be the method of last resort for increasing the Province’s revenue,” added Ross. “It is our position that there remain efficiencies to be found within all departments of the government. This doesn’t mean reducing the public service by a single position necessarily - in fact, we think those public employees are the best source of finding and implementing savings in a number of ways.”
The full submission can be found here: Chamber NB Program Review Submission - February 2015.pdf
Contact: Krista Ross, CEO - (506) 458-8006
With more than 900 members, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is one of Atlantic Canada’s largest chambers of commerce. A dynamic and relevant business organization, the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is actively engaged in policy development that affects the competitiveness of our members and of the Canadian business environment.
P.O. Box 275, 364 York Street, Suite 200, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, E3B 4Y9
Tel: (506) 458-8006 Fax: (506) 451-1119