It is always important to have and to keep jobs in Nova Scotia. Recent trends in jobs and unemployment statistics are reasons to be optimistic. However, it is equally important for the voices of business owners to be heard. As employers, they are the economic drivers in our communities. Their success is our success.

As the One Nova Scotia Report states very clearly, “we need business and community leadership in the pursuit of economic growth: these sectors need to pull the economy forward rather than it being pushed by government policies and investments”.

I recently met with business leaders in Colchester County to hear their concerns and their opinions. Two recent Tax Reforms were well received by the industry, and Government was encouraged to move forward gradually with other measures.

Business leaders who met with me also acknowledged the importance of programs to support young graduates in finding employment. Wage subsidies to employers are a huge incentive. Graduate to Opportunity funding helps graduates find their first job and Innovate to Opportunities encourages employers to create research focused jobs for new graduates. Tuition for apprentices receiving technical training has been eliminated, and the Apprenticeship START program provides incentives for businesses to hire apprentices from underrepresented groups and those from rural Nova Scotia.

The two Tax Reforms introduced last year will have an impact beginning on January 1, 2018.

  1. Income taxes for every Nova Scotian earning less than $75 000 have been reduced. This was achieved by increasing the basic personal exemption from $8 481 to $11 481, a

$3 000 or 35.4% increase. More than 500 000 Nova Scotians will save $85 million a year. What is most important is that more than 60 000 people will no longer pay any provincial tax at all. That is a 28% increase and it means a total of 283 000 people in Nova Scotia will not have to pay provincial tax. This is more money staying in the pockets of recent graduates, low income and retired Nova Scotians, single parents, working families, and small business owners.

  1. A small business can now earn up to $500 000 and only be taxed at the lower corporate rate of 3%. This will allow small business owners to invest more in their business, hire more employees and improve productivity.

Those in the hospitality, food/beverage and accommodations industry have acknowledged that the largest tourism season on record in Nova Scotia in 2018 has paid benefits.

As the MLA for Colchester North I recognize the importance of job opportunities for my constituents. I also recognize the importance of employers who own the business that drives the economy, not only here but across the province.

I want to thank those business leaders who recently took time to meet with me, as well as all others who provide employment opportunities in our communities. It is important to our Government that both the employees and employers be successful so that we can continue to have an economy that is recognized by Bond Rating Agencies and Parliamentary Budget Officers as one of only two provinces in Canada that is on a fiscally sustainable path.

When the Liberal Government took office in 2013, the province was borrowing money to pay its bills. This is not sustainable. Today we are living within our means and balancing a budget for the third consecutive year. Thanks for your support. We all care about the future of this province for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

Karen Casey, MLA
Colchester North