Provincial Chamber Sees Budget 2017 as a “Good First Step”

Budget Takes Steps to Address Economic Competitiveness but Path to Balance Grows

While Budget 2017 takes another needed step on addressing and reducing the competitive disadvantage Manitoba business face, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) remains concerned that the path towards a balanced budget and restoring business confidence seems to be well on the horizon.

All signs point to the revenue situation in Manitoba remaining healthy and look to be growing. There is optimism that business confidence in Manitoba is growing but has not fully rebounded.

Budget 2017 does contain a number of initiatives that look to address concerns of business like removing regulatory burdens, indexation of tax brackets, and dealing with the need for better labour market data to help better align business and education to collaborate and design programs that can address the continued need for skilled workers. Improved labour market information is something MCC has long advocated for, and something being felt across the country.

“There are elements in the budget that we (MCC) would like further information on and how the government plans to implement things like the announced Partners for Economic Growth’, said Davidson. “While some will spend time attacking what is missing or reduced in the budget, MCC would look at the potential for what is in the budget and push forward to grow business.”

MCC believes Budget 2017 takes the initial steps towards returning Manitoba to balance. However, what remains an area of concern is the timeframes to go back to a balanced budget still feels too far away. With $991 million going towards debt servicing, the focus for the future should be on lowering that number and showing businesses that we are stable and open for investment.

That will not do anything more to restore business confidence within and outside Manitoba.

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s Chamber movement. With a membership comprised of Local Chambers of Commerce as well direct Corporate Members, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce is Manitoba’s largest and most diverse business lobby, representing 70 local Chambers and close to 10,000 businesses and community leaders.

Chuck Davidson
President and CEO, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

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