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1, and the annual inflationary minimum wage increases scheduled to return October of next year.Increasing the EHT threshold While not a campaign commitment, the government could also go a long way towards taking some of the pressure off small businesses by moving on the province’s payroll tax: The Employer Health Tax (EHT).While the EHT threshold was increased from $450,000 to $490,000 in payroll last year, it has been increased by only about $90,000 since it was introduced in the 1990s well behind the rate of inflation and last year’s 23% spike in the minimum wage that saw many business owners cross the threshold and forced to pay the tax for the first time.Assessment Re Assessment Back in the spring budget, the government announced that it would look into Ontario’s property tax system with a focus on supporting a competitive business environment.While the discrepancy between commercial and residential rates has long been a source of frustration for business owners across the province as development in downtown Toronto and the GTA continues to boom skyrocketing property assessments are crushing small business owners.In some cases, businesses have seen their property tax bill more than quadruple in recent years, thanks to the “highest and best use” rule, which sees the property taxed at what it could be (like, a 50 story condo tower), instead of what it is (like a one story restaurant).Ontario deficit drops from $11.7B to $7.4BEDITORIAL: Defusing Ontario’s debt bombEISEN: Ford should look west for deficit reduction strategyWhile municipalities are responsible for property tax rates, it’s the province that has power on the assessments. It was heartening to see a property tax system review highlighted in the government’s recent red tape package. Business owners will be watching the Fall Economic Statement closely for an update and any indication on next steps.Overall, the government’s first year has been a very good one for small business owners.

Head Full of Zombies founder Dave Weed appreciates the recent zombie resurgence, but doesn’t think it has anything to do with the band’s success this past year. “It’s just our massive, massive talent,” he says, laughing. That and perhaps the addition of two new faces: lead singer Amy Sue Hardy and keyboardist Collin Estes.

Corporate accounting scandals, while not unheard of, weren’t making daily headlines. And if employees could be taught the most fundamental principles of investing such as the difference between a stock and a bond, and the value of tax deferred compounded growth nobody got hurt.How quaint that all seems today.Yet, as is so often said, “crisis” consists of equal parts of danger and opportunity. Today’s danger is that few 401(k) participants, watching their stock investments get shredded in this summer’s stock plunge, will accumulate enough capital to retire.

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