On Monday (Dec. 19), election candidate Paul Martin announced that the Liberals would increase the lifetime capital gains tax exemption for small businesses (and farmers) by 50%.
Last summer, I talked to an official at the Industry Dept's small business braintrust about this long-overdue move. (It's a good partial remedy to the looming sucession crisis that I've written about.) I was assured this move was not being considered. Not a priority. Not on the radar.
Suddenly, Paul Martin thinks it's a good idea. Hard to believe that he's been Prime Minister for two years, or that his party has been in power for more than 12 years.
Maybe if the Liberals didn't wait for elections to do the right thing, they wouldn't be facing an election now.
(From the Liberals' official press release, the fine print: “There’s nothing small about the role small business plays in the creation of jobs and growth in Canada’s economy,” the Prime Minister said. “Raising the lifetime capital gains exemption to $750,000 from $500,000 will allow small-business people and farmers to keep more of the profit from the sale and transfer of their businesses to a new generation.”)
(And then there's the appeal to your heartstrings: "A Liberal government will continue to create an economic environment that helps small businesses continue to thrive – not just as the engine of economic growth, but as the place where Canadians’ dreams come true.")
Reduce taxes, Paul. Lower interest rates. Dump the GST. Then maybe we'll believe you.