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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Proposed federal tax changes needed to fund critical infrastructure

1 123 Government

by Tom Sigurdson

To the Editor, As British Columbians head back to school this month, many parents will rise in the morning, pile the kids in the car and hit the road, perhaps crossing a bridge or two before dropping their children off at school and going into work.
BC Building Trades executive director Tom Sigurdson
BC Building Trades executive director Tom Sigurdson

Many will never think about the workers who build those roads, bridges and schools.

They are built by our members and paid for through taxes.

Many have spoken out about the proposed changes to the federal tax system. I would like to take this opportunity to share the perspective of 40,000 construction workers.

Our members work hard every day to build this province. Construction booms and busts and they have to juggle the changes very carefully.

Unlike independent businesses, they can't share their income among family members during big construction years. They also can't defer a portion of their income into a tax free passive investment portfolio that they can access during slow periods.

There are good arguments to be made to extend such benefits to my members.

But instead of whittling down an already modest tax base, I support equaling the playing field, closing the loopholes and treating all working people fairly.

The proposed changes have been characterized as "alarming" with some groups even threatening it will drive small companies out of business.

The reality is that the majority of small businesses won't be effected by the changes at all.

According to the finance minister, 66 per cent of small businesses earn less than $73,000 a year. For passive investment income to provide an advantage over and above what is available to every Canadian through RRSPs and TFSAs, a business owner needs to earn more than $150,000.

Nothing gets the political blood boiling faster than pocket book issues, but we cannot allow a small, but very vocal minority to prevent us from enacting these balanced changes that will bring fairness to our taxation system.

The cost is more than a few votes - it directly effects our government's ability to invest in the infrastructure our country needs.

And that's infrastructure that puts thousands of British Columbians to work every year.

TOM SIGURDSON

Executive Director

BC Building Trades

The Journal of Commerce welcomes letters on any construction industry-related subject but reserves the right to edit and withhold them, although care is taken to preserve the core of the submission. Letters should be no more than 550 words and must include the name, mailing address and daytime phone number of the author. Letters reflect the opinion of the author and not that of the Journal of Commerce, ConstructConnect or its staff. Submit letters to editor@journalofcommerce.com.

One comment

  • # 1

    Mark Miller

    Fully Agreed Tom. As a tradesperson and union member, I am deeply disappointed by the NDP'S decision to side with the conservatives on this tax measure. The thing about reforms to income taxes is that they affect higher income earners more than lower income earners. If you do indeed make only $73,000 a year, then this will have very little effect on you and your business.

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