BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
Last year, I received an overwhelming number of letters from people across Northern BC who were very concerned about proposed changes to our tax system. Usually on a major issue I might receive a few dozen letters, but on this issue my office was flooded with well over 400 letters. I want to start by thanking those individuals who took the time to write.
In September, I personally delivered these letters, representing the concerns of thousands of residents, to Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Six months later, he responded.
In his response, he outlined all the things the Liberal government is supposedly doing to support small businesses. What he failed to mention are all of the changes that are going to actually cost Canadians and small business owners more overall. The letter also discussed proposals for income sprinkling and the taxation of passive investment income.
In the end, while I do appreciate that Minister Morneau provided a response to these letters, it is difficult to say whether he will respond to all of the concerns expressed in your letters effectively.
That being said, it is thanks to pressure from Canadians, including the over 400 letters I received, that the Liberal government has decided to backtrack on their original proposal for passive investment income. Announced in Budget 2018, instead of the proposed 73 per cent tax, the government will gradually withdraw eligibility for the small business tax rate for those companies with investment income greater than $50,000. Once investment income reaches $150,000, the business would no longer be eligible for the small business tax rate.
While it is good to see the Liberals climb down from their original position on passive investment income, these changes will still hurt many small business owners, as many will either no longer qualify for the small business tax rate or will see it reduced.
A big thanks to those of you who took the time to write. I hope you feel a sense of pride as the pressure you put on the Liberal government has had an impact on their policy. It could have been a lot worse. I urge you to continue to write to me about anything that may concern you about this Liberal government and the direction they are taking our country.
Right now the Liberal government is failing middle class British Columbians, the very people they claim to be helping, by raising taxes on more than 90 per cent of middle class families. Now is the time to have your voices heard.
I am proud to represent our region and I will continue to fight for lower taxes and responsible spending, so that hard-working Canadians like you can keep more of your hard-earned money in your own pocket. My challenge to you is to stay engaged and continue to voice your opinions.