Premier’s previews budget highlights

Yukon’s business community got a preview of the territorial budget last week. Premier Darrell Pasloski spoke to a room packed with more than 100 people at a Yukon Chamber of Commerce lunch on Friday.

Yukon’s business community got a preview of the territorial budget last week.

Premier Darrell Pasloski spoke to a room packed with more than 100 people at a Yukon Chamber of Commerce lunch on Friday.

He told the crowd that his government’s focus remains squarely on growing the economy.

“It is especially important to me that this growth comes from the private sector,” said Pasloski. “We need a strong private sector if we are to reach our goal of becoming a net contributor to Canada.”

We’re not there yet, Pasloski said in an interview Monday morning.

“We still have a ways to go. We’re still reliant upon a territorial formula financing that comes from the federal government. So there’s more work to be done, but I believe that we’re on the right path.”

He announced a series of initiatives designed to encourage business in the Yukon.

The small business tax rate will be cut from four per cent to three per cent this year, said Pasloski.

And the government will initiate a red tape review to report on administrative burdens on business and suggest targets to reduce them.

Yukon will also review its business incentive program, which subsidizes contractors to the government when they source labour and materials locally.

The government has also committed to spend $710,000 on programs designed to attract Outside investment in the territory.

Yukon will also invest in the infrastructure required to support businesses, said Pasloski.

This year it will spend $2 million towards the planning of a new hydro dam.

The government has also earmarked $600,000 to plan a fibre optic link between Whitehorse and Juneau, Alaska. That would give the Yukon a second telecommunications link to Outside, reducing the risk of outages and encouraging competition.

The government has also committed to subsidize wireless communications infrastructure so that every community has access to the equivalent of 4G cellular service by 2017.

And the premier also committed to investing in tourism. First Nation cultural centres will get $500,000 this year, and $590,000 will go to promoting Yukon as a tourism destination in overseas markets.

“Our focus is on infrastructure to support private sector growth,” said Pasloski to close his speech Friday. “What government builds for Yukoners helps Yukoners build a strong economy. We should all take pride in what we have achieved together to this point, and we can all look forward to even a brighter future.

Pasloski will present the full budget Tuesday to Yukon’s legislative assembly.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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