The timing of tax hikes leaves a lot to be desired, says a local business owner.
“I understand that governments has a fiscal year,” said Andy Carrier, the owner of Sooke 2 for 1 Pizza. ‘But the tax increases on Jan. 1 come at the worst time of the year for small businesses. Sales are down, which is typical of a lot of businesses like ours. The only ones seeing increases are gym memberships and weight loss clinics.”
Carrier said the amount employers pay into Canada Pension Plan benefits went from 5.7 per cent to 5.95 per cent, as well as a bump from 1.58 per cent to 1.63 per cent for the amount employers pay for employment insurance on Jan. 1.
“And as of Jan. 1, all digital tips are now recorded on kitchen staff salaries, which raises the percentage of what I have to pay,” he added. It’s too early in the year to say how much these changes will cost, but they will be significant.”
Not only is it the worst time of the year for increases, but they’re coming on the heels of the three-year COVID pandemic that hammered many small businesses, and at a time when many costs are rising as well, he noted.
“The wholesale price I pay for pepperoni went up 30 per cent in one year, and the cost of pizza boxes just went up by 10 per cent,” Carrier said. “I get a lot of support from my suppliers, and they only raised the prices as late as possible with the least amount of increase.
“People are losing jobs over this,” he added. “Distributors and manufacturers are losing staff because they’re losing sales. I’ve been established in Sooke for 26 years and know what I’m doing. I haven’t raised my prices for well over a year, but I spent today raising my prices by five per cent across the board. I’m fortunate to have long-term quality staff and don’t have to deal with the additional cost of training, but it’s really challenging for new businesses.”
Britt Santowski, executive director of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the reality of costs going up across the board is a challenge for small businesses.
“The B.C. Chamber of Commerce is lobbying the provincial government to ease costs on small businesses, and as a member, we support those efforts,” she said.
A Feb. 28 media release from the BC Chamber of Commerce took issue with the provincial government budget’s lack of support for small businesses.
“While today’s budget focused on affordability and reducing the cost of living, it provided little support to businesses who are struggling with the cost of doing business,” said Fiona Famulak, president and CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. “In order to have healthy communities, we need to ensure we have healthy businesses. Today’s budget did not take meaningful steps towards addressing the concerns that we have raised.”
For a look at the entire statement and other business news, visit bcchamber.org.
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