Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. Small businesses power our economy employing millions of Albertans every year and creating 97% of all new employment opportunities according to Statistics Canada (read more toggle).
In recent years these job creators suffered through the recession alongside the rest of us. Yet the NDP policies and taxation had a very punitive effect directed specifically towards our business owners during a severely depressed economy. Rather than support the market through the downturn, the NDP created policy and increased taxation that would choke business in any economy much less a recession.
In a short period of time job creators have shouldered a minimum wage increase from $10 to $15/hour, an increased requirement for employers to contribute to CPP and EI, substantial increases to the statutory holiday pay structure, increases to corporate tax, and the implementation of the Carbon Tax which increased every aspect of operating costs.
None of these increases were market driven or anticipated and could not be absorbed in the natural ebb and flows of business. For many the costs have outweighed income and jeopardized their ability to succeed and keep Albertans in their employ. Where some companies were forced to close their doors, others have taken drastic measures in restructuring resulting in layoffs and stagnant growth in the economy. Our high unemployment rates have been a direct reflection of this.
The answer is NOT to create more government jobs, rather provide a tax competitive environment to help our job creators find solid ground again. This would also attract and incentivize new business to take hold in Alberta. When the doors are open for business in our province, diversifying markets will organically emerge, unemployment trends will right themselves, and Albertans will be able to support the economy with the cash left in their own pockets.