SMEs support tough Budget

JENNY KEOWN
Last updated 13:23 21/05/2012

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New Zealand businesses support the Government's strongly signalled Budget plan to cut spending to ensure a quicker return to surplus, according to a new study.

The MYOB Business Monitor, a regular survey of over 1000 small to medium enterprises, found 68 per cent of businesses favoured the Government's zero-budget approach.

MYOB general manager Julian Smith said through the recession and the recovery, business owners - and Kiwi households - have had to budget tightly and ensure they are getting the best value for their dollar.

''They expect that the Government will do the same.''

However, of the 1000 businessses surveyed, 29 percent were dissatisfied with the Government's support, compared to 21 percent who were  ''satisfied'' with the Government's performance in helping them succeed.

Small and medium sized businesses around the country were not only the engine room of the economy, said Smith, and responsible for a significant proportion of employment, they were also the nation's tax collectors - giving them a unique insight into the country's budget.

''Through PAYE, GST, company tax and the other taxes they administer, businesses actually handle most of the nation's tax take, so for them, that money is real. They know where it comes from and how hard it is to generate, so they support any efforts to make sure that money is spent wisely and efficiently.''

Businesses were disappointed that no progress is being made on their most preferred policy: simplifying the rules around provisional tax payment, Smith said.

''Some 80 per cent of business owners support simplification of provisional tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to meet their tax obligations, so it's disappointing that this idea is not on the Government's agenda. What's interesting is that business is not asking for a special tax cut or any government assistance, they just want it to be easier to do business and get on with the job.''

Business owners, especially in small business, were also supportive of moves which would help their employees.

For example, 38 per cent of business support raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, even though it would cost them more in wage costs, 49 per cent would like to see gender pay equality enshrined in legislation, and 49 per cent support the introduction of compulsory KiwiSaver, which would cost them more in increased employer contributions, he said.

Businesses top 5 preferred policies
1. Simplification of provisional tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to accurately determine and meet their tax obligations - 80 per cent support.
2. Fast track the Government's Ultrafast Broadband Rollout - 69 per cent support.
3.Increased focus on cutting Government expenditure to ensure the NZ Budget returns to surplus faster - 68 per cent support.
4.Increased Government funding for innovation, research and development by NZ businesses -66 per cent support.
5.Changes to the ACC system to introduce competition and private insurance - 63 per cent support.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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