Premier promises to follow through on lower small business tax in chamber speech
'I know economically we're in a good spot here in Prince Edward Island'
Premier Dennis King spoke to the business community Tuesday at the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce's annual general meeting, listing his priorities for future economic growth in the province.
King won the provincial election April 23 and this was one of his first public engagements.
"I think our first priority is to get a firm grip on where we're at financially — where we stand. I know economically we're in a good spot here in Prince Edward Island," King said to reporters after his time on stage.
"My first priority is to maintain that and work with the business community in Prince Edward Island to actually grow that, to work on some of our taxation issues and other issues that … will make it even more favourable for business to be successful here."
Lowering the small business tax rate was part of the PC platform, and King made a promise to the crowd Tuesday that they would see some movement in the upcoming budget on lowering that rate, which currently sits at 3.5 per cent.
"The responsible way to do that would probably be to try to move that point five per cent over the next couple of years," he said.
"I think all of the parties in their platforms … are committed to doing that in some way, shape or form. So, that would be an issue that we can build upon in the speech from the throne and the budget," he said.
Carbon tax discussed with PM
Top of mind for business leaders was a carbon tax, which King said he has discussed with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
"As we see it right now, and as what Islanders are witnessing, is that the made-in-Canada approach that's across the board is not actually allowing the federal government to actually see a decrease in the carbon footprint," he said.
"What I talked to the prime minister about is … furthering that dialogue to sit down and say 'What can we do here in Prince Edward Island?'" King said.
"We're a transportation society. Everything we have moves on … wheels. So we don't have Island-wide transit. We don't have trains. We don't have other, you know, shipping opportunities that other provinces have."
King added he would commit to keeping the current two-year deal in place with the federal government and work on more investments in wind and solar energy.
Chamber president Dawn Binns said she was pleased with the premier's answers.
"Premier King has, in the election and since then, supported a number of initiatives that the chamber has put forward; reduction of our small business tax, tthe Partnership for Growth Initiative," she said.
"So, we're excited to see that continue and to work … with the premier and the other parties."