In the past few months, the Rudd Government has cut more than $1 billion of programs for small businesses. As revealed in SmartCompany yesterday, the latest to get the chop is the 23-year-old NEIS program, which was regarded by all and sundry (including the Rudd Government) as successful in getting the unemployed to start small businesses.
So what is really happening? This is not just a razor gang taking the knife to a hotch potch of programs. This is a huge attack on small business that signifies a major policy shift by government. Subsidies and assistance to get start-ups into the pipeline are out.
What will replace it? Maybe nothing! But the Rudd Government is surely not that stupid. It does seem, by reading between the lines, that this Government has a two pronged strategy.
One: Create a culture where small and medium businesses will have to earn tax credits for growth and expansion.
Two: Get out of the way; cutting back red tape and clearing the way for growth including getting rid of duplication between state and Commonwealth laws.
We have no proof of this of course, as the SME sector has merely been presented with the cuts and we are waiting to see the vision later this year with the results of the Innovation Review and tax reform.
But it’s my bet that this is where we are heading.
In that case, SmartCompany calls upon the state and federal governments to abolish one particularly hated impost – payroll tax.
We know it’s a state tax; but it is an abhorrent tax. It is a tax on success. It is a tax on jobs, people’s mobility, and people’s aspirations. Why should the Federal Government not support this with compensation to the states?
For starters, the current Government is on the nose with the small business community. The latest survey from Sensis shows only 10% of small businesses believe the Federal Government’s policies support the sector, the lowest level since February 1996.
And secondly, it ties in with their future direction: Supporting growth and expansion.
Here at SmartCompany we’ve decided to do something about it.
We’ve started a petition against payroll tax that we will present to every state and territory government – it’s another way we will be keeping pressure on politicians to cut this terrible tax.
It doesn’t matter if you have employees – you might one day. And it is only when you are forced to pay it, that it really hits home how bad this tax is. So have your say…
We want your support. Sign our petition. And keep coming back to SmartCompany to see your petition grow.