Yesterday, the Weir Campaign introduced their plan to reform the Saskatchewan Small Business Tax loophole that currently allows larger companies to take advantage of a lower tax rate in Saskatchewan.
And it seems that the first shot of the campaign between two candidates has emerged from this issue.
Another release from the Weir campaign today focused on decreasing employment numbers here in Saskatchewan, and uses the opportunity to single out Cam Broten; and refer to how Broten is apparently against reforming the small business tax and allowing companies who have a taxable income up to $500,000 to remain under Saskatchewan's lower tax rate.
Now, I tried to find a copy of Broten's remarks online (I was unable to, but the release says that it appeared in today's Star Phoenix on page A8), so I can't reprint exactly what Cam is reported to have said.
Having said that, I'm sure the defence revolves around the need to keep investment flowing into Saskatchewan. While that is a priority for all the candidates, no one wants to be labeled as the candidate trying to stifle investment in the province, there is a valid argument to be had about reviewing our current approach to ensure we're developing wisely.
All the candidates have spoken to keeping Saskatchewan's economy strong, and Cam has spoken to improving community based economic development, so I don't think any of the candidates are looking to stifle economic development.
And as I mentioned yesterday, people who don't consider themselves "financial hawks" when it comes to policy, might not fully understand the need to close loopholes and ensure fair taxation; especially if they understand the argument as "if the rates were higher, they wouldn't invest here at all" or rather, it's better to collect a lower rate than nothing at all.
It's an interesting approach to see the first semi-blow of the campaign from one candidate to another to come from the issue of small business taxation. Whether or not is a blow that lands, or that will make any major impact as other disagreements between candidates evolve, remains to be seen.
Personally, I think it's the kind of issue that doesn't affect everyone on a daily basis and it will be quickly forgotten as other more "day to day" issues and disagreements come out during the course of the campaign.
Through this does signal, I think, the sign that the campaign is really starting to gear up and we will begin to see major differences and developments forming between the candidates in the race. And that, is always a good thing.