Liberals plan help for businesses, mining firms
Last Updated: Monday, September 6, 2010 | 9:09 AM ET
The Liberal Party is promising a series of initiatives designed to save small businesses money on their power bills and to spur on new activity in the province's mining industry.
Liberal Leader Shawn Graham used a Monday morning campaign stop at Discover Drilling in the northern community of Beresford to announce that companies that start new mining projects will receive a three-year royalty break.
"We know there is still interest in exploration in the region," Graham said in a statement. "If there's a possibility we can create new jobs, we are going to do what we can to get it done."
New Brunswick voters go to the polls on Sept. 27 to elect a provincial government. The last legislature ended with the Liberals holding 32 seats, the Progressive Conservatives 21, and two seats were vacant.
The Liberal government offered a similar package to PotashCorp. when it announced that it would set up a new $1.7-billion mine in the Sussex area in July 2007.
The Graham Liberals estimate the new Sussex mine will generate $330 million in revenue over its lifespan, which it argues is worth the three-year royalty break.
The 2010-11 budget forecasts $18.7 million in mining royalties up from $13.9 million the year before.
Priority on jobs
Economic development has been a top priority for the Liberals during the 2010 election campaign.
Graham has promised that a new Liberal government would create 20,000 new jobs during a second mandate.
Along with the royalty break, the Liberals are promising to generate jobs by offering a $8-million energy efficiency program for small- and medium-sized businesses.
Liberal candidate Jack Keir, who was Graham's energy minister for the last four years, said the initiative will "significantly cut the cost" of doing business in the province.
The Liberal initiative would offer financial help for as much as 80 per cent of the cost of a lighting retrofit program.
"If businesses can cut their electricity bills substantially, that will make a significant difference to their bottom line," Keir said in a statement released on Monday.
The Progressive Conservatives announced last week that it would help spur on job growth among small businesses.
Tory Leader David Alward said his party would reduce the small business tax rate to 2.5 per cent from five per cent if elected.
Earlier in the campaign, Alward committed that he would halt the planned corporate tax cut at 10 per cent. The Liberals are scheduled to reduce the rate to eight per cent by 2012.