Over the course of the next month political parties will make dozens of promises to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money in an effort to get you to put an X beside their name on October 3.
At the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, we believe that it has never been more important than in today’s globally competitive business environment that our next provincial government creates a climate that attracts new businesses, that is conducive to new investment, and that enables existing businesses to grow and thrive.
The reality is that Manitoba must have an effective and fiscally prudent government that is committed to creating a competitive tax environment to attract and retain new investment and ensure that economic growth is the driving force behind every decision it makes through the lens of making Manitoba more competitive.
In addition, Manitoba has long been recognized for its diversified economy. The depth and breadth of industries found here have served our province well and has allowed us to weather storms when economic downturns have negatively impacted other jurisdictions.
With global supply challenges and the increasing impacts of climate change creating increased demand in clean energy and critical minerals, the provincial government must actively support and champion new and emerging areas of growth in Manitoba’s economy.
That is why the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has developed our own policy platform that focusses on four key areas – the first plank focuses on strengthening our economic competitiveness and business confidence and we are encouraging political parties to take the following four steps to achieve that:
1. Commit to eliminating the payroll tax and continue to focus on personal tax competitiveness, which has been identified by business leaders as the greatest impediment to economic competitiveness and growth in Manitoba. These personal tax measures should include continued increases to the Basic Personal Amount and continued upward adjustments to personal income tax brackets.
2. Invest in sectors and industries with the greatest strategic opportunity in Manitoba and develop corresponding action plans to support these investments, including in the areas of critical mineral development, the green economy, agri-food, transportation, and bioscience.
3. Promote Manitoba’s access to capital framework to support private sector growth and ensure equitable access to capital by supporting businesses owned by women and underrepresented entrepreneurs with valuable venture and growth capital through the Manitoba First Fund, making sure that all Manitoba businesses can expand and thrive here at home.
4. Commit to undertaking thorough consultations with businesses and other stakeholders prior to introducing new legislation or regulations that significantly impact labour and/or the business community. Ensure sufficient timelines around policy changes to guarantee that business can successfully adjust and ensure they are focused on outcomes and supported by cost benefit analyses.
Predictability is fundamental to business confidence, economic recovery, and sustainability. Businesses need a stable policy environment with clear timelines, contracts, consultations, and strategies to help them plan and make long-term investments.
Good governance, including the public sector’s ability to work at the speed of business, is fundamental to a strong and growing economy. Furthermore, regulatory coordination and improving certainty for project reviews are critically important to attracting investment to Manitoba and developing the necessary trade infrastructure to capitalize on our province’s strengths and strategic opportunities.
The Chamber believes that although we are experiencing strong inflationary pressures and an unprecedented labour shortage, it is imperative that we focus on growing our economy and leveraging our strengths through a strategic, focused and results-driven approach. By focusing greater attention on key economic indicators and measuring our success, we can generate results including significant prosperity for all Manitobans.