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Nova Scotia Premier Announces Business Tax Cuts

HALIFAX – Premier Stephen McNeil says his government will cut the corporate tax rate in Nova Scotia on April 1 this year.

McNeil made the announcement at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Province address Wednesday, revealing a pair of tax cuts that will lower both the corporate and small business tax rates in the province.

He said his government will cut the corporate tax rate from 16 to 14 percent, and the small business tax rate from 3 to 2.5 percent.

“That is an investment in you,” he told members of the business community at the event, “and quite frankly I hope it’s an investment you turn around and reinvest in Nova Scotians.”

The cuts will bring both of the province’s business taxes in line with New Brunswick for the lowest in Atlantic Canada.

Previously, Nova Scotia’s 16 percent corporate tax was tied with Prince Edward Island for the highest in the country.

McNeil said the tax cuts are designed to “continue the momentum around job growth and job opportunities for Nova Scotians.”

“We felt that at this point in the economic future of our province, with the continued vibrancy of what’s happening … that we needed to continue to find some way to keep the economic investments from the companies both corporate and small business coming into Nova Scotia,” he said.

Halifax Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Sullivan said the cuts will do just that.

“When I speak to the business community, I want you to know that they are going to use that money, and they’re going to invest it in Nova Scotia. Because that’s what they tell me they need to do and want to do, to grow Halifax’s economy,” he said.

However Nova Scotia businesses do decide to use the windfall, the cuts mean a loss of $80-million in tax revenue for the province.

McNeil’s government hasn’t yet released its full 2020-2021 budget, and the premier wouldn’t give any information about what that lost $80-million will mean for other spending in the coming year.

Without giving specifics, he did say the upcoming provincial budget will keep in mind Nova Scotians who haven’t benefitted as much from a healthier provincial economy.

“Our budget will also reflect a real understanding that there are some people in our province that are not feeling the same growth that we are,” McNeil said. “It will be one that ensures that the success that we’ve enjoyed together – that each Nova Scotian is recognized in our budget.”

McNeil wouldn’t specify how the upcoming budget will do that, but told reporters after his speech that parts of the provincial budget will be “targeted towards organizations and communities that have continued to support those who haven’t felt the success of this economy.”

Banner photo: Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and Premier Stephen McNeil. Image: Trevor Nichols/Huddle.