Maxime Bernier itching to cut 2,300 small business

Lower taxes and less red tape – these are the things Canadian entrepreneurs demand and need to grow their business, according to Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.

Expensive taxes on businesses in effect become taxes on that operation’s employees and trickle down to its customers. Red tape, on the other hand, steal precious time and labour from businesses, said Bernier yesterday during a speech before small and medium sized business owners at the Small Business Summit 2011 conference at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

“The government has been in the entrepreneur’s pocket and on the entrepreneur’s back for a long time now,” said Bernier, paraphrasing former United States president Ronald Reagan.

Slashing red tape is also a priority for Bernier, who chairs the Red Tape Reduction Commission. “Through our consultation process, the commission has identified some 2,300 ‘irritants’ related to red tape,” he said.

“I have been to a lot of long table discussions across the country… entrepreneurs are saying they want lest government intervention in their business, less regulation and less taxes,” he said.

Bernier did not specify which taxes SMB owners consider to be an undue burden. But he said the government’s initiatives aimed at lowering corporate taxes for large and small businesses by as much as 15 per cent next year are a good move.

“But before we can do that we need to have a balanced budget,” Bernier said.

He also lauded the Conservative government’s national broadband program launched some two years ago. “Access to the Internet, regardless of your location, is very important to entrepreneurs.”

Bernier said with the Business Development Bank of Canada to speed up release of loans to many small businesses. “They have a $200 million portfolio which could be used by many businesses to buy technology they need.”

Many small businesses are also being bogged down by government red tape, said Bernier. He said his office is now working with various government departments to identify red tape and streamline procedures related to dealing with small businesses.

“For any business, time is money. When you have a tax question to the government, you want to get its answered fast. We are asking government departments to do their best to provide answers within two weeks,” he said.

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