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Feb 17, 2016

Government heeds BC Chamber recommendation to tackle tax competitiveness within a balanced B.C. budget


Date ArticleType
2/17/2016 Media Releases
Government heeds BC Chamber recommendation to tackle tax competitiveness within a balanced B.C. budget

Chambers of Commerce from across the province congratulate the B.C. government for tabling a fourth consecutive balanced budget.

The 2016 budget combines on-going fiscal discipline, including a continued focus on repaying operating debt and a number of forward-looking initiatives strongly advocated for by the BC Chamber network, such as the creation of a Tax Competitiveness Commission and the BC Prosperity Fund, to support future economic growth.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce had been looking for reductions or elimination of the Property Transfer Tax. The Province eliminated the tax on new builds under $750,000 - so a step in the right direction for Canadians or permanent residents.

"The budget was focused on social issues, along with supports for natural resource development, an interesting combination. It is a good budget for some families. It is unclear if the budget for the Ministry of Environment will allow them to man inspection stations at all B.C. access points to keep invasive mussel species out of our waters." States Ken Carmichael, President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. "There may be an increase to businesses who pay for their employees MSP with the changes announced today."

"Tomorrow we will be asking the Premier why this budget ignored the shift in legislation needed to protect credit unions from the small -business tax exemption due to be phased out in 2016." (An action the province mirrored from the federal government). "This impacts credit unions as they cannot access capital markets like banks can. Increasing taxes on credit unions impedes their ability to grow retained earnings and capital." continued Carmichael. The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the BC Chamber of Commerce remain active advocates on this issue, and later this month will host the CEO of Canada's Credit Union Association.

"While this budget is anything but flashy, the Chamber is pleased the government heeded our advice and is implementing strong forward-looking initiatives, such as the Commission on Tax Competitiveness, which will give additional fiscal flexibility to deal with challenges facing business like tax competitiveness," said Jon Garson, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. "This commission is timely because we need to start looking at broader tax reforms and not only further tax reductions."

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