Economic stimulous missing
from budget, says Smythe
0218 - There is little in the provincial budget to spur economic growth for our region. says the CEO of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. Kim Smythe said an economic stimulous for growth was lacking, and that is something that would
provide the greatest relief to our local economy and over all affordability.
While acknowledging the continued commitment to fund supportive and affordable housing, Smythe said there is little in the budget for our region.
the response to the budget by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce which said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are left wondering how they will overcome $5 billion in cumulative cost increases over the next three years.
Val Litwin, President &
CEO of the BC Chamber, said the Employers’ Health Tax, an increasing carbon tax, a rising minimum wage, climbing corporate tax rates are all weighing down the backbone of BC’s economy.
“Beyond a number of limited tax enhancements,
we didn’t see anything today that will materially help BC’s SMEs compete in the years ahead – and our data shows there are storm clouds looming”, he added
The BC Chamber’s
recent 2018-19 Collective Perspective Report shows 80 per cent of BC businesses feel the cost of doing business has worsened
in the last year, and one in two owner-operators report their confidence in BC’s economy has declined in the last 12 months.
“The Provincial Government is keying in on many of the right issues regarding housing and childcare—but
we need to remember it’s a thriving business community that funds these investments— and domestically, our businesses are facing increasing cost pressures. We need to ask ourselves, are these investments sustainable in an increasingly uncertain
global economy?” Litwin says.
Helpful investments clustered around BC’s new Clean BC Plan include: $10M in incentives for medium-and heavy-duty vehicle conversion, $6M for light-duty fleets to adopt zero-emission vehicles,
and $168M over three years for industrial operations to reduce GHG emissions, which will help make BC’s liquefied natural gas industry the cleanest in the world. Additionally, a number of enhancements to the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit
Program will help new start ups get funding and achieve commercialization faster.
“One policy win for our members today was the 'Mining Flow-Through Share Tax Credit' becoming permanent,” says Litwin. "Our members in Northwest
and North central BC will also be encouraged to see $100M earmarked to help address infrastructure needs for the 26 local governments along the LNG corridor."
Overall, today’s budget could have said more on how BC’s business
community—especially SMEs—will compete in the years to come. Though welcome, even the $800 million in today’s budget for 'business-capital cost allowances on capital investments', is a result of federal tax changes, not any new program
being rolled out provincially.
The BC Chamber is the province’s largest and most broadly-based business organization driving insights to its partners, government and Chamber network. With 36,000 members hailing from every nook
and cranny of the province, the BC Chamber knows what’s on BC’s mind.