For two years our Treasurer has swanned around the country, claiming his was the new party for small and medium business.
Central to this was the often repeated promise to introduce company tax cuts (down 30% to 29%) that were supposed to kick in in just six weeks time for companies with less than $2 million turnover.
The Government thought we were all dingoes by dovetailing it to the introduction of a mining tax. But we are all grown-ups who do budgets too, and we know that a promise is funded out of an entire budget, not some bucket with mining dividend on it.
It also meant that tens of thousands of small businesses doing it tough would have shared in $316 million in financial year 2013 and good luck to them.
They would have paid their creditors, maybe put on some new staff, taken a holiday and thought about the future. In fact, they would have been counting on that because their accountant would have let them know two years ago they were eligible and, boy, not only were they looking forward to it but they had factored it into their accounts.
After all, a business person who has been told repeatedly by a government for two years that a tax break is on the way – and being optimists who listened to their whining about the Opposition and the Greens – couldn’t in their wildest dreams imagine it might be dumped at ten minutes to midnight.
But that’s what has happened. Sure it has been replaced by at least confirming the loss carry-back tax break for companies, 90% of which it estimates will go to businesses earning under $2 million.
But this most eligible companies won’t be able to access the tax break until 2014.
It is not just the broken promise that is going to infuriate business owners. It’s the whole big vision thing. Where is the big plan for the future of business, jobs and infrastructure?
Smart businesses know that in bad times you don’t lose your nerve. You invest in the future. Something that, in this budget, the Government simply has not done.