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Tax experts and over 100 local business owners and employees gathered in Winkler this week to voice concerns over the federal government's proposed tax legislation.

Many say the changes would hurt the country's biggest economic engine, successful small business, suggesting it would, "kill the goose that's laying the golden egg."

After reading the proposals, a panel of professional accountants agreed the changes would not only squeeze out profits, but discourage owners from reinvesting and taking risks to grow their businesses.

"Do any of you make an investment not knowing how it's going to be taxed?" local accountant Dale Gislason asked, adding the legislation presented for the 75 day consultation period is "overly convoluted and complex."

forum2"We want to grow, that's our goal."

Some business owners suggested they simply wouldn't start a new business today in this uncertain tax environment.

Winkler Mayor Martin Harder says the proposed changes would especially have a huge impact on Winkler where 90 percent of the community works for private corporations.

He adds roughly 40 percent of the city's tax base comes from small business, noting many communities would be thrilled with even 20 percent.

"We want to grow, that's our goal," one business owner says, to hire and employ more people.

 

 

"If they win, we win... It's about reinvesting in the community"

Another business owner suggested the new tax laws simply make it extremely difficult for entrepreneurs to reinvest in their companies, meaning no new jobs.

"I'm an employee and this scares me," Jean Thiessen says. "Yes this is going to affect me... I don't want to lose my job."

With interest rates on the rise, and uncertainty around the NAFTA trade agreement, Kenton Derksen of GTP says the proposed tax changes are another hit to local business operators and entrepreneurs.

 

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